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Publisher's Summary

A spine-chilling saga of virulent racism, human folly, and the ultimate triumph of scientific progress.

For Chinese immigrant Wong Chut King, surviving in San Francisco meant a life in the shadows. His passing on March 6, 1900, would have been unremarkable if a city health officer hadn't noticed a swollen black lymph node on his groin - a sign of bubonic plague. Empowered by racist pseudoscience, officials rushed to quarantine Chinatown while doctors examined Wong's tissue for telltale bacteria. If the devastating disease was not contained, San Francisco would become the American epicenter of an outbreak that had already claimed 10 million lives worldwide. 

To local press, railroad barons, and elected officials, such a possibility was inconceivable - or inconvenient. As they mounted a cover-up to obscure the threat, it fell to federal health officer Rupert Blue to save a city that refused to be rescued. 

In the tradition of Erik Larson and Steven Johnson, best-selling author David K. Randall spins a spellbinding account of Blue's race to understand the disease and contain its spread - the only hope of saving San Francisco, and the nation, from a gruesome fate.

©2019 David K. Randall (P)2019 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

What listeners say about Black Death at the Golden Gate

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  • Steve Adams
  • 11-07-2019

Plague, Racism, Public Health..a toxic mix.

David Randall's book does an excellent job in giving background on Bubonic plague as an illness that goes back centuries. I'm a registered nurse, so anything dealing with public health is very interesting to me. The book details an outbreak of bubonic plague in turn of the 20th century San Francisco. Doctor's trying to get to the bottom of this outbreak had to contend with racism against Chinese, concerns about loss of money to businesses in San Francisco and California. One of the best medical related books I have read since the Hot Zone and The great INfluenza.(Both very good books also worth your time)

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 17-06-2020

good book with adjusted audio

very interesting informative, well-written historical novel with good leadership lessons for public health. I slowed the audio to .85x which made the narration sound much more natural. I enjoyed it very much after doing that.

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  • JoAnn
  • 07-06-2020

Phenomenal History Information

Could not turn this off!! concerned at first about a medical history - this was so well written it was engaging from the first "page". Annoying to have to stop for any reason. Learned so much about San Francisco area. I will surely read it again in future.

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  • Steve Schoenig
  • 31-05-2020

totally relevant in this pandemic age

Super well written. Great history of early 1900's San Francisco and California. Greed and racism made it so hard for scientists to control a plague outbreak. Much like today!!

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  • Stephanie
  • 16-05-2020

Plague, Politics and Racism

It was interesting to read some California history that was completely new to me. I really enjoyed this book and found some parallels to what is happening with the current pandemic.

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  • Steven Baumgartner
  • 07-01-2020

Very Interesting

It's extremely interesting story and the history is great....especially if the reader has ties or familiarity with San Francisco. It does seem to drag on a little towards the end. Would have been a slog to read...but a really fun and interesting listen. The reader will certainly learn about the history of the gold rush, the SF fire, and what life (and sanitation) was like in the mid to late 1800s and early 1900s

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  • Samantha cross
  • 26-07-2019

Enthralling

This book was well written and interesting, it grabbed my attention straight away. It’s a concise history of an outbreak that would scare us yet the fight to get the powers to be to overcome politics has echoes today. Well worth a listen xxxx

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