“Evidence of Harm,” (2005) about the potential link between mercury in vaccines and autism, which was a New York Times bestseller, winner of the 2005 Investigative Reporters and Editors Award for Best Book, and one of five finalists for the 2005 Helen Bernstein New York Public Library Award for Outstanding Nonfiction. The New York Times noted that, “Kirby does an admirable job of clarifying most of the scientific background [and] makes the unassailable point that American health agencies lagged in calculating the amount of mercury being injected into babies.” Publishers Weekly, in a Starred Review, called it “one of the most thoroughly researched accounts of the thimerosal controversy thus far. It’s accessible in its handling of medical topics and compelling in its recounting of the parents’ fight,” while Kirkus Reviews wrote that, “Kirby does a good job of explaining the scientific issues in an unresolved controversy.” Newsday,meanwhile, called it “A gripping investigation. Much like the 9/11 commission’s report, it is an alarming page-turner.”
“Animal Factory” (2010) about the hazardous impact of industrial animal production on human health, the environment, food safety, animal welfare, rural communities and more. NPR named it one of the “Books We Like,” saying that, “Kirby combines the narrative urgency of The Jungle with the investigative reporting of Fast Food Nation. He has the potential to change the collective American mind about contemporary food issues.” Publishers Weekly called it “An eye-opening account of an escalating problem…Kirby delves deep to uncover the abysmal conditions of America’s food and produce industry.” Booklist said in a starred review that, “Thanks to Kirby’s extraordinary journalism, we have the most relatable, irrefutable, and unforgettable testimony yet to the hazards of industrial animal farming,” while the San Francisco Book Review commented that, “The writing is brilliant, the people profiled are inspirational in their activism, and the topic is one that so many people remain blissfully ignorant of.”
“Death At SeaWorld,” (2012) about the history of keeping killer whales in captivity, and why this archaic form of entertainment is not only devastating for these magnificent animals, but also poses a deadly threat to trainers who work with them at marine amusement parks like SeaWorld. The Wall Street Journal said, “Kirby makes a passionate case for captivity [and] tells the story like a thriller. His argument is, for the most part, fair and persuasive,” while The New York Times asked, “Should some of the most social, intelligent and charismatic animals on the planet be kept in captivity?” adding that, “The issue has been raised with new intensity in Death at SeaWorld.”Booklist, in a Starred Review, deemed the work “A gripping inspection… Hard to put down,” and New Scientist called it “A chilling depiction… Kirby lays out a compelling scientific argument against killer whale captivity.” Meanwhile, the San Francisco Book Review, in a Five Star review, said the book was, “Brilliantly and intensively researched and conveyed with clarity and thoughtfulness, Kirby’s work of high-quality non-fiction busts the whale debate wide open… Reads like a thriller and horrifies like Hannibal Lector.”
David joined the Times in 1997 as a contracted writer for the paper’s Sunday City Section, covering community politics, real estate, zoning, cultural trends, food, the arts, and the quirkiness of Manhattan’s neighborhoods and their denizens. He continued to contribute to various sections at the Times, including Science Times, Arts & Leisure, Travel, Style, E-Commerce, Autos, Giving and Weekender, until 2002.
THE CITY – FEATURE: NEW YORKERS & CO.; Trial Balloons – It’s blimp season in New York. One by one, the giant lolling billboards of corporate America are floating slowly north in their annual migration to the city, home to more potential eyes to the skies than perhaps anywhere else in America.
ARTS & LEISURE – ART; Exhibit A (as in Art) in a Case for Conservation – Some of the finest works of this underappreciated genre have reached New York, bringing their airy palettes and play of California light to the National Academy Museum. Collectively these paintings testify to the energy and passion of the little-known California Impressionists of 1890 to 1930. Their work reveals a reverence for the state’s landscape, so often washed in its celebrated white light.
THE CITY – FEATURE: The Unlit Stove: Cooking as Lost Art in New York – Seth Bookey, an Upper East Sider who edits a trade publication called Vision Monday, tells of the time an English friend came to visit and was shocked by the number of people lined up for takeout late at night. “She said, ‘Do all New Yorkers do this every night?'” Mr. Bookey remembered. “And I said: ‘Of course not. Half the time we have food delivered.'”
TRAVEL – California’s Other Beach Scene – Most people realize that Northern and Southern California are two utterly divergent worlds that happen to fall within the same state. But I never really appreciated just how opposite these two dominions were until I took a tour of the tumultuous and wind-swept coast of Sonoma County, perhaps the most unsung stretch of shoreline anywhere in the Golden State
THE CITY – FEATURE – New York, By The Hour – “I tell out of town friends that just walking out the door will cost at least $30,” said Kathleen Conkey, a lawyer who lives in Chelsea. ”They don’t believe me, until they get home and can’t figure out where all their money went.” But how many New Yorkers ever stop to ponder how quickly the money flies from their hands? One way to look at it is by that classic New York unit of measurement, the hourly rate.
David was an original contributor to The Huffington Post when he began writing for the new outlet in May of 2005. He continued to contribute through 2014, covering, among other things, issues pertaining to his first three books about: mercury in vaccines; the hazards of factory farming; and the plight of captive killer whales.
The Price of Cheap Meat: A Lake Dies in Ohio – Grand Lake St. Marys — Ohio’s largest inland body of water and a treasured recreational area — is dying. And if you barbecued some supermarket pork over the holiday weekend, you helped contribute to this disaster.
CDC to Study Vaccines and Autism – The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention wants to study autism as a possible clinical outcome of immunization, as part of its newly adopted 5-year research agenda for vaccine safety. The agency will also study mitochondrial dysfunction and the potential risk for post-vaccine “neurological deterioration.
Green Energy, Jobs and Minority Businesses: Wall Street Is Paying Attention – last week in New York, for the first time ever in the same room, Fortune 500 Corporations, some 200 minority owned small businesses gathered to discuss ways to create jobs, help the environment, reduce dependency on foreign oil and assist multi-ethnic businesses to bring economic development to the country’s hardest hit communities.
Time to Phase Out the Shamu Shows – The debate over human trainers performing in the water with killer whales, the ocean’s top predator, has reentered the national dialogue now that a judge handed down a harsh rebuke to SeaWorld after it sought to overturn a safety violation in the 2010 death of Orlando employee Dawn Brancheau.
David covered a wide range of environmental issues for this social-action site owned by Participant Media from 2012-2107. His work included articles about threats to marine mammals and other aquatic life, wildlife conservation, offshore drilling, fracking, green technology, federal and international environmental regulations, renewable resources, pollution and much more.
AWARD WINNING FEATURE STORY – In 2013, David won the Southern California Press Association’s Award for Environmental News Coverage for his feature article Corexit – An Oil Spill Solution That’s Worse Than The Problem. The feature described “a grim picture of corporate deceit and governmental acquiescence, which could foretell a legacy of chronic illness and premature death among those exposed to the blood-cell rupturing properties of Corexit.”
FEATURE: Watch What Happens When You Free a Killer Whale – The anti-captivity movement hopes that SeaWorld and other marine parks will one day agree to transfer at least some of their animals to seaside sanctuaries. But where will they go? In the works are at least nine “retirement” plans, under which captive whales, dolphins, and porpoises would be transferred to netted-off pens in the ocean.
FEATURE: The Fight Over Fracking Heats Up – As the Democratic National Convention gets under way in Philadelphia, activists across the country are pushing for bans on oil and gas extraction. The fight over fracking is, well, fractious, pitting environmentalists against fossil fuel interests, cities against states, Republicans against Democrats, and now Democrats against one another.