Publication Date: 18/03/2021 ISBN: 9780008430528 Category:

Failures of State

Jonathan Calvert, George Arbuthnott

Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: 18/03/2021 ISBN: 9780008430528 Category:





‘An astonishing book’ James O’Brien

‘A gripping, devastating read’ Sunday Times

‘This is a scandal’ Piers Morgan

The inside story of the UK’s response to the pandemic from the Insight investigations unit at The Sunday Times

Failures of State: The Inside Story of Britain’s Battle with Coronavirus recounts the extraordinary political decisions taken at the heart of Boris Johnson’s government during the global pandemic.

Meticulously researched and corroborated by hundreds of inside sources, politicians, emergency planners, scientists, doctors, paramedics and bereaved families, along with leaked data and documents, this is the insider’s account of how the government sleepwalked into disaster and tried to cover up its role in the tragedy – and it exposes one of the most scandalous failures of political leadership in British history.

In the eye of the storm was Boris Johnson, a Prime Minister who idolised Winston Churchill and had the chance to become a hero of his own making as the crisis engulfed the nation. Instead he was fixated on Brexit, his own political destiny and a myriad of personal issues, all while presiding over the UK government’s botched response to the global coronavirus pandemic. After missing key Cobra meetings, embracing and abandoning herd immunity and dithering over lockdown, Johnson left the NHS facing an unmanageable deluge of patients. His inaction resulted in the deaths of many thousands of British people and his own hospitalisation at the hands of the pandemic, yet further reckless decisions allowed a deadly second wave to sweep across the country in the autumn months with the economy on the brink of collapse.

With access to key figures at the top of government during the most tumultuous year of modern British history, Failures of State is an exhaustive and thrillingly told story – and one of the most essential pieces of investigative reporting for a generation.

Publisher Review

Praise for The Sunday Times Insight team's Coronavirus investigation: 'A devastating piece of journalism' Andrew Marr 'Jonathan and George's investigative reporting has been beyond incredible and is truly historic. This is one of the most important books of our time.' Owen Jones 'The obituary of Boris Johnson's government. An absolutely extraordinary catalogue of complacency, error and long weekend holidays even as departments were sounding the alarm.' Caitlin Moran 'This is a scandal ... The Sunday Times Insight investigation into how Boris Johnson's dithering on lockdown cost thousands of lives is utterly devastating ... Shocking, shameful & deeply saddening. We "saved the NHS" by letting our elderly die agonising, lonely, terrible deaths. Disgraceful.' Piers Morgan 'Jonathan Calvert and George Arbuthnott's reporting on Covid has been truly superb. It's been essential reading throughout the pandemic.' Rachel Clarke 'I am literally gobsmacked' Robert Peston

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