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  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241501771
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $35.00


How Covid Shook the World's Economy

From the author of Crashed comes a short, high-speed history of how Covid-19 ravaged the global economy, and where it leaves us now

When the news first began to trickle out of China about a new virus in December 2019, risk-averse financial markets were alert to its potential for disruption. Yet they could never have predicted the total economic collapse that would follow in COVID-19's wake, as stock markets fell faster and harder than at any time since 1929, currencies across the world plunged, investors panicked, and even gold was sold.

In a matter of weeks, the world's economy was brought to an abrupt halt by governments trying to contain a spiralling public health catastrophe. Flights were grounded; supply chains broken; industries from tourism to oil to hospitality collapsed overnight, leaving hundreds of millions of people unemployed. Central banks responded with unprecedented interventions, just to keep their economies on life-support. For the first time since the second world war, the entire global economic system contracted.

This book tells the story of that shutdown. We do not yet know how this story ends, or what new world we will find on the other side. In this fast-paced, compelling and at times shocking analysis, Adam Tooze surveys the wreckage, and looks at where we might be headed next.

  • Published: 14 September 2021
  • ISBN: 9780241501771
  • Imprint: Allen Lane
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 368
  • RRP: $35.00

Also by Adam Tooze

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Praise for Shutdown

A comprehensive history of an unprecedented year ... Readers will find this deeply informed parsing of the pandemic to be illuminating and thought-provoking.

Publishers Weekly

Tooze examines the unprecedented decision of governments around the world to shutter their economies in the face of pandemic ... As the pandemic hopefully continues to fade, other crises remain. This book is a valuable forecast of future problems.


A complex story, which Tooze tells with clarity and verve... The world is unlikely to be treated to a better account of the economics of the pandemic.

The Times

Mr Tooze displays a remarkable ability to master the detail ... This is truly a picture of the global impact of the crisis; it covers the disruption in the financial markets, as well as the ins and outs of government policy.

The Economist

Fascinating, informative and wise.

Times Literary Supplement

[A] brilliant, bracing account of the Covid pandemic and its protracted political aftermath ... Nuanced and wide-ranging. Tooze has the impressive ability, as a writer, to contextualise historical events as they unfold.

Jamie Maxwell, The Herald

Shutdown is a seriously impressive book, both endlessly quotable and rigorously analytical. Tooze synthesises a huge volume of information to argue that we must prepare for a new wave of crises or risk being sunk by them. Hopefully, governments everywhere will heed his warning.

Oliver Bullough, The Guardian

What sets [Shutdown] apart is Tooze's ability to keep his eye on the big picture - and the long view ... There will be plenty more books to come on the global economy of 2020. Few will be as timely, as wide-ranging or as clear as Shutdown.

Duncan Weldon, Prospect

To read Shutdown feels like sitting alongside the great professor while he feverishly collates an array of data and anecdotes, attempts to chronicle what is going on, his head fizzing with ideas about what it might all mean and where it might be leading ... a fine use of one's time.

Bill Emmott, Financial Times