The Race To Save America From The Bubonic Plague

Jul 15, 2019

David K. Randall is a senior reporter at Reuters and The New York Times best-selling author of "Dreamland" and "The King and Queen of Malibu."

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 ten million lives worldwide.

In "Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague," Randall shares this little known story of an avoided epidemic.