REVIEWS & PRAISE
"WONDER DRUG is both a first-rate medical thriller and the searing account of a forgotten American tragedy. Drawing on six years of groundbreaking research and guided by a keen eye for the indelible detail and an unwavering moral conviction, Jennifer Vanderbes has produced a shocking saga of pharmaceutical malpractice."
— Patrick Radden Keefe, New York Times
bestselling author of author Empire of Pain
"A tale of scientific detective work, corporate corruption on a grand scale, and human resilience in the face of repudiation and tragedy. This is narrative nonfiction at its most compelling."
— Margot Lee Shetterly, New York Times
bestselling author of Hidden Figures
"The best investigative reporters in America didn’t uncover this story, until [Jennifer Vanderbes] put it together in a book."
"In a wide-ranging, thoroughly researched, and suspenseful account, novelist Vanderbes creates a compelling cast of heroes and villains… The author weaves the various strands of her riveting tale together with aplomb... A significant work about a horrifying example of widespread pharmaceutical negligence."
— KIRKUS, *starred* review
"In this exhaustively reported look at the reckless use of the sedative thalidomide, prescribed for everything from insomnia to nausea during pregnancy, Vanderbes practices "show, don't tell" journalism at its best... This is a medical must-read."
— BOOKLIST, *starred* review
"In this mind-boggling horror story of pharmaceutical malfeasance, journalist and novelist Vanderbes profiles one of the most notorious drugs in history: thalidomide...A deeply researched and chilling must-read."
— PUBLISHERS WEEKLY, *starred* review
"A story with real heroes — and real villains…WONDER DRUG will leave you grateful for strong-minded scientists and epidemiology nerds — people who actually take the time to look at the data — and for dedicated pediatricians, parents who won’t take no for an answer and curious, persistent, investigative journalists like Vanderbes who can follow even long-buried and carefully hidden stories that need to be told."
- WASHINGTON POST
"Fascinating and compassionate, this book unearths new stories of thalidomide survivors and the battle over a dangerous pill."
- PEOPLE MAGAZINE
"With the meticulousness of a Maddow investigation, Vanderbes documents the complacency, the complicity, the collusion, the cover-ups and denial... The action shifts from one country to the next in the manner of a John le Carré thriller...Vanderbes has a deft pen."
- THE GLOBE AND MAIL
"Riveting... Vanderbes, previously a novelist, tells her story with verve, power, and empathy."
- HARVARD HEALTH MAGAZINE
"In WONDER DRUG, journalist Jennifer Vanderbes excavates an important corrective to the mythology that has accreted around the US thalidomide experience... She provides the first sustained account of thalidomide's circulation in the US... WONDER DRUG is both a moving account of the uphill battles faced by survivors and a striking example of how investigative journalism can help."
- SCIENCE MAGAZINE
"Urgent and engrossing...Vanderbes’s WONDER DRUG provides a sweeping account of the drug’s invention, its shadow distribution in the United States...and the terrible consequences on the people who were its unwitting guinea pigs... A terrific new book..."
"A powerful and deeply reported book - Vanderbes’s dogged investigation has finally exposed the true scale of this public health catastrophe, giving us an important story that honors unsung victims and heroes while blowing the lid off decades of cover-up.”
- Charles Graeber, New York Times bestselling
author of The Good Nurse
“Vanderbes’s thorough investigative work and her lucid prose bring to life a little-known American tragedy. WONDER DRUG is a compelling read and reminds us why regulatory scrutiny of new drugs matters.”
— Abraham Verghese, New York Times
bestselling author of Covenant of Water
"Jennifer Vanderbes’s WONDER DRUG is an utterly engrossing, thrilling and horrifying look at both a shocking episode in the history of Big Pharma, and at the intersection of medicine, profit, and government bureaucracy. Vanderbes brings a novelist’s skill to the extensive archival work she’s done, creating a stunning, immersive account of a medical scandal."
— Phil Klay, National Book Award
winning author of Redeployment