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The Premonition: A Pandemic Story Hardcover – May 4 2021
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"Lewis brings a welcome gimlet eye to the Trump era… the lessons of the “The Premonition” apply to more than just the C.D.C. — they tell us why government bureaucracies fail."
― New York Times Book Review
"An urgent, highly readable contribution to the literature of what might be called the politics of disease." ― Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Praise for Michael Lewis:
"I would read an 800-page history of the stapler if he wrote it."
― John Williams, New York Times Book Review
From the Back Cover
Praise for Michael Lewis
I would read an 800-page history of the stapler if he wrote it.
-- John Williams, New York Times Book Review
- Publisher : WW Norton (May 4 2021)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0393881555
- ISBN-13 : 978-0393881554
- Item weight : 590 g
- Dimensions : 16.51 x 3.05 x 24.38 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: #764 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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This isn't another story about Trump and his fake news politics, although there is some of that. No, this is the story of how a handful of brilliant scientists, doctors and public servants saw the light at the end of the tunnel and recognized it for what it was - a massive threat to public health. This is the story of how this small group of people were denied data and found it anyway, were denied tools and resources and built them from nothing, and were denied access to the positions and power they needed to save lives, and had no recourse. This is also the story of how the CDC, an American organization that should have been on top of this issue from the first rumours, failed to protect the American public time and time again in an almost willful display of cowardice and negligence. Finally, this is the story of how over 600,000 Americans have lost their lives to date because the country has no coordinated public health system, and because it's politicians and leaders have no moral compass.
This story is a monumental tragedy.
The jacket quote for this book should be from Charity Dean who, at one point, says "There is more testing happening in Zimbabwe than in California."
By Mark M. on June 15, 2021
Top reviews from other countries
1) The Federal government's failure to act effectively in Jan & Feb, 2020 to contain the virus doomed the US to fight a losing battle against an enemy that multiplied at an exponential rate;
2) Without drastic overhaul, the US public health system will not be ready for the next virus, which could be much more lethal.
From venal politicians to a broken public health system to corporate desire for profit over service, we see why the pandemic took hold in, supposedly, the earliest most advanced country.
Thus should be required reading for all. The lesson is that we need to prepare now for the next one. No one knows when it could happen but we know it will. We can't repeat the mistakes again.
Lewis is a talented and experienced writer who knows how to inject excitement into all the stories he has written. COVID-19 is not just a pandemic, it has proven to be on scale, worse than the Spanish Flu of 1918. Lewis uses his characters to track how the virus surfaced in China and how it spread to the USA, unnoticed by some and ignored by others.
But this band of Wolverines was recruited like the Magnificent Seven under Chris Adams (the 1960 John Sturges movie). Chris Adams had it easy, he only had to deal with a band of Mexican bandits. Carter and the Wolverines had to figure out how to stop a deadly virus from spreading across the country, and at the same time, they had to fight his own administrators (this was in the time of President Trump).
Like all wars, the stories of resistance have the greatest heroics. In this story, Charity Dean was brought in touch with the Wolverines by Duane Caneva who Charity initially thought was a Trump storm trooper, but she soon realised that he was part of the resistance. Together, they had to understand the enemy, how it fanned out, and how to find it. In the course of this, they realised that the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (‘CDC’) was not up to the task.
This story of COVID-19 hunters and the weapons and tactics they employ will one day tie in with other stories of the Pandemic of 2020, and one can only hope that it will be The Pandemic Story – With a Happy Ending.
The rest of the world transmits electricity into your home appliances at 220 Volts. The US suffers a tiny bit financially, but delivers it at 110 Volts, which saves lives. The rest of the world chlorinates water. The US does one better, it fluorinates. The rest of the world was happy to suffer lead in its gasoline (and lungs) well into the eighties. The US switched to unleaded as early as 1972. And toward the end of “The Premonition” you learn that as recently as 1976 the US embarked on a mass vaccination program to stop a potential repeat of the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic.
What you also learn from this book is that there’s nothing left of the lead the US once enjoyed or the ability of its government to improve people’s lives.
This is the story of the team that, in response to an order from George W Bush, put together the nation’s plan to fight pandemics, only to see Bolton shut it down halfway through the Trump administration, just in time for the US to totally fumble the recent Coronavirus pandemic.
In the way that only Michael Lewis can, you are introduced to Bob Glass, Charity Dean, Carter Melcher, Richard Hatchett and Joe DeRisi and follow them as they take it upon themselves to rescue America in this most recent challenge.
If you read the papers, you know they failed. Here you get to see why: the institutions that would once have taken charge are shown to now be ossified facsimiles of their former selves, mainly focused on avoiding blame, preserving the status quo and suppressing the efforts of any potential usurper.
Just as depressingly, from my angle, the only institutions that come out well from this are the ones funded privately by billionaires and millionaires.
I finished this today, August 21st, with the recent Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in the news and I can’t say I’m surprised.