The Premonition: A Pandemic Story (Paperback)

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The Premonition: A Pandemic Story By Michael Lewis Cover Image
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Staff Reviews

If Michael Lewis wrote about dental floss, I'd follow him there. In The Big Short, he artfully explained the credit default swap market. Moneyball focused on both baseball and the valuation of people.

The Premonition has the highest stakes of any of his books because it examines the response of government at all levels to the spreading Covid-19 pandemic.  As in The Big Short, he introduces a group of protagonists with eclectic backgrounds and job positions who band together to try to prevent catastrophe.  

A middle schooler’s science project motivates her father to examine how disease spreads through social interactions; a California health officer must buck her superior to attempt to stem the spread; and an ICU doctor with an outside-the-box approach to problems finds himself acting as a rogue epidemiologist. They and others, not the CDC, developed a national plan to mitigate Covid-19. Too bad the plan wasn’t followed.

What Lewis makes clear, and what is most alarming, is that the group's actions were essentially unofficial. As the participants developed their plans to mitigate the effects of the pandemic, their careers were put increasingly at risk. They realized early on that the viral horse had left the barn. Even as first reports of cases in the U.S. became public, these experts knew prevention was not possible.

One of their biggest findings: the reduction of social interactions of children would drastically curb the spread of the virus. So if you have kids in social settings, mask up and vaccinate.

— Rosemary


New York Times Bestseller

For those who could read between the lines, the censored news out of China was terrifying. But the president insisted there was nothing to worry about.

Fortunately, we are still a nation of skeptics. Fortunately, there are those among us who study pandemics and are willing to look unflinchingly at worst-case scenarios. Michael Lewis’s taut and brilliant nonfiction thriller pits a band of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the official response of the Trump administration to the outbreak of COVID-19.

The characters you will meet in these pages are as fascinating as they are unexpected. A thirteen-year-old girl’s science project on transmission of an airborne pathogen develops into a very grown-up model of disease control. A local public-health officer uses her worm’s-eye view to see what the CDC misses, and reveals great truths about American society. A secret team of dissenting doctors, nicknamed the Wolverines, has everything necessary to fight the pandemic: brilliant backgrounds, world-class labs, prior experience with the pandemic scares of bird flu and swine flu…everything, that is, except official permission to implement their work.

Michael Lewis is not shy about calling these people heroes for their refusal to follow directives that they know to be based on misinformation and bad science. Even the internet, as crucial as it is to their exchange of ideas, poses a risk to them. They never know for sure who else might be listening in.

About the Author

Michael Lewis is the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, The Undoing Project, and The Fifth Risk. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.
Product Details
ISBN: 9781324035534
ISBN-10: 1324035536
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 5th, 2022
Pages: 320
Language: English