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The Premonition: A Pandemic Story

av Michael Lewis

MedlemmarRecensionerPopularitetGenomsnittligt betygOmnämnanden
3661754,821 (4.41)8
Senast inlagd avwritemoves, privat bibliotek, dsj14, BrandonGiesing, PaintGirl, Rjhmzn, pkill, cotedb
  1. 00
    The Great Influenza: The Story of the Deadliest Pandemic in History av John M. Barry (M_Clark)
    M_Clark: This book by John Barry is mentioned several times in the Michael Lewis book and is given credit for inspiring George W Bush to create a pandemic preparation plan as well as causing Bush's task force to look at the critical issues of timing and social distancing.… (mer)

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I am always looking for information from books, lectures or thought leaders on things I did not know. This is such a book – – no wonder our pandemic response was so poor! We have health officials talking like politicians, politicians talking like doctors and government officials just trying to cover their ass. So many things went wrong from an ineffective government response, confusion by the CDC and so many incompetent people involved in life and death situations.

Fortunately there were some very competent and smart people trying to save lives. Unfortunately these people had to overcome poor management and bureaucratic hurdles. Dr. Charity Dean, in particular, had to deal with stereotyping based on her age, looks and race to try to be taken seriously. Lewis also recounts the efforts of Bob Glass, Carter Mecher and others to collect needed data in order to make good decisions on how to control the spread of infection.

One of the surprises in the book was that George W. Bush was the president who took the threats of pandemics seriously and initiated studies to address them. Unsurprisingly, Donald Trump and his administration botched efforts to minimize the spread of pandemics. The Trump administration eliminated the scientific group inherited from the Obama administration who were in the midst of planning for pandemics. John Bolton was more concerned about military threats, not pandemic threats.

One of my personal takeaways from this book is how I could never trust any announcement or findings from the CDC. They are largely villains in this book. ( )
  writemoves | Oct 26, 2021 |
This was really interesting and definitely had some insights about things at the beginning of the COVID pandemic that I wasn't aware of. I've read quite a few books by Lewis at this point and I always appreciate how well he can craft a story. I think many people would expect this to be about the failures of the Trump administration during COVID specifically but really the critique is towards the CDC and the perverse incentives that exist generally throughout the government that lead to inefficiencies. This book also really centers the response of California and focuses on characters based there. This isn't too surprising given that Lewis lives in California but don't go in thinking you're going to get a broad critique of the federal response to this pandemic. Even though I was pretty well aware that the initial response and preparation for COVID in arriving in America was poor, I was still taken aback by some of this things that happened in this book with regards to government inaction and secrecy, as well as an unwillingness to take preemptive action. I think this book gives a really good view of the early failures in this pandemic as well as demonstrating what may be done differently in the future. I found this book very easy to read and very interesting. I would definitely recommend this, maybe especially at this point in the pandemic when vaccines are now available because it is a good look at how this all started and how we got here. ( )
  AKBouterse | Oct 14, 2021 |
Focusing on key "players" before the CoVid-19 virus actually swept over America, Lewis provides interesting details and renders the mycology (study of viruses) and epidemiology understandable. His analysis of the state of our country's public health systems, the federal agencies/offices meant to protect US citizens, the "approach" to rampant diseases/emerging health crises in the CDC and even some states' public health status - all this sounds very "wonk-y" but he centers his narrative on those he calls the true "heroes" who strained to prevent the very CoVid crisis we endured in 2020.
Such an approach makes it a riveting read. I found it instructive, and it gave me names, dates, details to research further to better understand how our country could have "done" the CoVid disaster - better. ( )
  BDartnall | Sep 5, 2021 |
Michael Lewis does narrative nonfiction extremely well, and The Premonition is one of his best. This book tells the story of a group of people (called the Wolverines), all experts and insiders, who try to have a positive impact on America's response to the COVID pandemic, with very limited success. The book's focus is not on blaming Trump or his administration or any specific individual, but on painting the picture of why our institutions set up to serve and protect us against pandemics failed. It's a larger story than you might expect and Lewis tells it very well. The book reads like a thriller and had me hooked from the start.

All of the folks in the Wolverines are involved in one way or another in public health or in pandemic planning across the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. Two of them actually helped author the federal government's plan for pandemic response. When COVID hit, they banded together to try to influence the response. But they are up against a decentralized, disconnected public health system with perverse incentives, bureaucratic CYA at the CDC, political calculation, and lack of leadership at many levels. Their plan and their advice are only partially listened to at first. And so the virus spread and many more lives were lost than if the actions they championed had been quickly taken up.

This is not the story of the pandemic I was expecting. It left me feeling like we in America are much further behind the eight ball in terms of pandemic response than has already been made readily apparent over the last year. It's a depressing counterpoint to Lewis's previous book The Fifth Risk. In that book he highlighted the amazing expertise and accomplishments of our various federal agencies and cautioned against taking them for granted. In this book he highlights that, while pandemic expertise may reside in our government agencies, when it comes to actually taking action the system itself is completely broken. And he gives you many of the reasons why. All in a tightly written fast moving narrative.

I give The Premonition Four Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐. It's a gripping read. ( )
  stevrbee | Sep 5, 2021 |
Eye-opening. ( )
  booklove54 | Jul 25, 2021 |
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