From the cover:
In the anxious days after Pearl Harbor; Life photojournalist Claire Shipley finds herself covering one of the nation's most important stories. At New York City's renowned Rockefeller Institute, researchers are racing to save thousands of wounded American soldiers and countless others by developing a miraculous new drug they call penicillin.
It is obvious that Lauren Belfer has done hours of research in compiling historical facts and backdrop for her story. Although the pharmaceutical company she follows is fictitious, nonetheless, she brings in many of the companies that are still around today. Despite the discovery of penicillin by Dr. Alexander Fleming in the 1920s, developing the mold, into a viable medication was not successful and therefore shelved until WWII when more soldiers were dying from infection than from the initial gunfire. A rush to be the first to develop a usable antibiotic pushed the pharmaceutical companies into subterfuge and intrigue, but families in Italy, for years, had been known to keep a loaf of moldy bread and used a slice to place on a wound before bandaging.
Along the way Ms. Belfer throws in a few historical facts about New York where 23rd and 24th streets were constructed entirely on land from ballast dumped into the harbor. Ships travelling from England to New York (after delivering war supplies) carried rubble from the tragic bombing of Bristol, England as ballast and dumped it in the river.
This would make a great book club read. Discussion questions here
Thank you Bookworm's Dinner - I received A Fierce Radiance as a giveaway.