Review of The Premonition: A Pandemic Story by Michael Lewis Rating ***
I’m a Michael Lewis fan. Premonition, however, fell short for me. The book lacked a narrative focus. Instead, it read more like a series of loosely connected anecdotes. I would have preferred more insight into how the Trump administration dropped the ball.
Trump’s initial reaction to the pending pandemic was to kill the messenger. Career civil servants tried to raise alarm bells, but Trump and his Republican allies did their best to silence those who didn’t fall in line with their nothing to see here approach. Take, for example, Trump’s solution to rising covid numbers, which was to reduce testing. Yeah, this guy was President.
When Trump saw the positive press that Governor Cumo received from his daily press conferences, Trump decided that he would be the new front person. That’s when we started getting nonsense like Trump’s suggestion to inject disinfectant.
The people who knew what steps the administration should have taken must have felt enormous frustration with the total lack of planning and foresight. But, unfortunately, I didn’t get that sense of frustration from the characters with whom Michael Lewis chose to focus.
Some give Trump credit for the rapid development of vaccines. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that Trump was more concerned about getting the pandemic behind him because of the upcoming election.
I believe Micahel Lewis missed the bigger picture. I wanted to know what Fauchi thought as Trump mucked things up. I wanted to know more about the CDC’s mishandling of covid tests, the mixed messages over masks. I would have liked more on the economic impact of completely shutting down the economy for nearly a year. That history has yet to be written.