Last week I lost sleep reading an advance copy of a new book on how Covid came to hold the whole world in its cruel grip.
The book, 100 Days that Changed the World: The Coronavirus Wars by Irish author Barry O'Halloran, is a riveting, readable story that should prick our conscience.
For example, critics of the report on mother and baby homes, who treat the issue as a historical once-off to be blamed on the Catholic Church, should examine their selective reactions.
Among other questions, the book prompts this one: why have feminist journalists, so vociferous about our poor treatment of young women in the past, been so silent about the equally poor treatment of older women in the present?
I'm referring to how last February and March the elderly residents of nursing homes were callously and tragically forced into the front line of the pandemic.
A majority were women who we had handed over to nursing homes which heroically tried to cope with Covid, without the support they needed from the HSE.
These vulnerable citizens, like the unwanted babies of a previous generation, have been rendered largely invisible in today's society.
As Barry O'Halloran observes: "The care home calamity was both so tragic, and yet so preventable."
In fairness, the author admits this neglect was not unique to Ireland. Across the whole of the Western world, elderly residents were betrayed by health systems.
Yet the media, in Ireland and elsewhere, was easily diverted from dealing with the tragedy by a smooth press presentation.
Governor Andrew Cuomo of New York, darling of the US liberal media, authorised the wholesale transfer of old people from hospitals to care homes without requiring them to be tested for the virus.
Thousands have since died in those homes. Yet Cuomo won an Emmy award for the suave manner with which he conducted his press conferences.
Last Monday, however, his luck ran out. Letitia James, the New York State attorney general, who is also a Democrat, published a devastating 76-page report.
James accused the Cuomo administration of deliberately understating and massaging the numbers who had died in nursing homes by as much as 50pc.
It is likely there will be hell to pay in a litigious city like New York, where every coffin comes with a lawyer.
Luckily for our own medical grandees, most of the feminist journalists in Irish media showed scant interest in the biggest feminist story of the decade.
Looked at globally, however, it must be admitted that hardly an institution or a country in the world comes out well of the coronavirus crisis.
Barry O'Halloran, in a measured but gripping narrative, shows how this disease was spread throughout the world by a mixture of incompetence, inaction and a deliberate suppression of the truth.
China figures largely in his sombre story and one of the most compelling chapters gives a detailed account of what happened there in early 2020.
Speed is a crucial factor in dealing with any pandemic, but the attempts by the Chinese authorities to suppress the truth were a major factor in allowing this lethal disease to spread around the world.
China behaved so badly in this crisis that we can be certain of one thing. Joe Biden will be in no hurry to reverse Donald Trump's prescient distancing of America from China.
The most fundamental question posed by the author is how did the coronavirus first arise? In search of an answer to what is still a mystery, the author uses a wide range of Western sources, but also draws extensively upon Chinese evidence, largely ignored by mainstream Western media.
His conclusion, based on circumstantial evidence, gives little comfort to those who still believe that this global misery can all be traced back to a wet market in Wuhan.
Because O'Halloran takes a rigorous approach to evidence, he refrains from a categorical answer - but gives us enough evidence to reach a conclusion ourselves.
Readers of the chapter titled A Smoking Gun who apply the Sherlock Holmes dictum - when you've excluded the impossible, whatever remains must be your answer - will be able to make an educated guess.
One of the ironies revealed in this book is the difference between theory and practice. In October 2019, a few months before the pandemic broke, the Global Health Security Index ranked the preparedness of each of 195 different countries to deal with any "globally catastrophic biological events".
The top-rated country was the US, followed closely by the United Kingdom. But that meant nothing when the pandemic struck.
Although these two countries had well-resourced health systems, their initial responses to the pandemic were as pitifully inadequate as those of most Western countries.
At a global level, this book caustically criticises both the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Chinese Communist party.
The author believes the WHO became so close to the Chinese regime as to badly damage its reputation.
He gives a forensic account of how the WHO repeatedly clouded the circumstances in which it was first informed by China about the Covid outbreak.
He goes on to show that China lied systematically to the rest of the world by covering up the true nature of the Covid-19 virus.
By mid-January 2020, when it could no longer be denied, China reacted by imposing a draconian lockdown on over 60 million people in central China.
This action received the enthusiastic support of the WHO, which praised China's actions as a model for other countries to follow.
But in reality China's actions spread the disease. Although it banned internal flights, it continued to allow international flights from this disease-ravaged area to the rest of the world.
Here the author produces powerful evidence that the initial outbreaks of Covid-19, in up to 90 other countries, were a direct result of people flying in from Wuhan.
But China was not the only sinner. O'Halloran is also critical of the EU, whose evasions and shortcomings were exposed under pressure from the pandemic.
In March of last year, Italy was in the eye of the Covid-19 storm and its citizens were dying in unprecedented numbers.
President Giuseppe Conte made a frantic phone call to the EU for assistance, but his call went unanswered.
Last November, the Commission spent €1bn on the prophylactic remdesivir. One week later, the WHO declared it ineffective against the virus.
Last week's vaccine debacle supports the author's criticisms. The EU Commission delayed for months before ordering large quantities of the AstraZeneca vaccine and is now offloading the blame for its poor oversight.
Barry O'Halloran's superbly indexed book is a must-read during lockdown. When your children or grandchildren ask you what really happened during the Great Pandemic, just hand them a copy.
100 Days That Changed the World: The Coronavirus Wars, by Barry O'Halloran, will be published at the end of February, price €15.99. For more details visit: www.100dayscoronavirus.com