The Premonition by Michael Lewis review – a pandemic story
It is hard to think of a writer who has had more success than Michael Lewis at turning forbiddingly complex situations into propulsive nonfiction narratives. His first book, the semi-autobiographical Liar’s Poker, drew on his own experience as a bond salesman in the 1980s to tell a vivid story about the predatory culture of Wall Street. He has since repeated the trick, though with fewer autobiographical elements, with an impressive range of subjects, from statistical analysis in baseball (Moneyball) to the credit default swap market and the 2008 financial crisis (The Big Short). His success derives from an ability to take incredibly wonkish-sounding premises and turn them into the kinds of stories that get made into films starring, respectively, Brad Pitt and Christian Bale.
His new book, The Premonition, is the story of a group of medics and scientists who attempt to get the US government to take pandemic response seriously. In a New York Times interview in January 2021, Lewis described the book, which he was then still working on, as “a superhero story where the superheroes seem to …
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