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The Fifth Risk

Undoing Democracy

Michael Lewis

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Penguin
05 December 2019
Politics & government; Political science & theory; Political structures: democracy
The morning after Trump was elected president, the people who ran the US Department of Energy - an agency that deals with some of the most powerful risks facing humanity - waited to welcome the incoming administration's transition team. Nobody appeared. Across the US government, the same thing happened- nothing.

People don't notice when stuff goes right. That is the stuff government does. It manages everything that underpins our lives from funding free school meals, to policing rogue nuclear activity, to predicting extreme weather events. It steps in where private investment fears to tread, innovates and creates knowledge, assesses extreme long-term risk.

And now, government is under attack. By its own leaders.

In The Fifth Risk, Michael Lewis reveals the combustible cocktail of wilful ignorance and venality that is fuelling the destruction of a country's fabric. All of this, Lewis shows, exposes America and the world to the biggest risk of all. It is what you never learned that might have saved you.
By:   Michael Lewis
Imprint:   Penguin
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm,  Spine: 15mm
Weight:   191g
ISBN:   9780141991429
ISBN 10:   0141991429
Pages:   224
Publication Date:   05 December 2019
Audience:   College/higher education ,  Professional and scholarly ,  Primary ,  Undergraduate
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans and educated at Princeton University and the London School of Economics. He has written several books including the New York Times bestsellers Liar's Poker, widely considered the book that defined Wall Street during the 1980s, and The Big Short, 'probably the single best piece of financial journalism ever written' (Reuters). Lewis is contributing writer for The New York Times Magazine and also writes for Vanity Fair and Portfolio Magazine.

Reviews for The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy

Michael Lewis has a knack for making the complex appear simple. Here he uses the inner workings of the US Department of Energy to demonstrate how Trump is dismantling government. * i magazine * The best part of The Fifth Risk is the evidence Lewis can add to the pile ... Lewis is a master of boiling down complexity into individual stories told by interesting characters. * The Times * Given that we now seem to be inhabiting a somewhat medieval world of plague and portent, I'd like to make the case for the prophetic powers of the US journalist Michael Lewis ... In December the notion [of the fifth risk] seemed wildly far-fetched. Four months on, it seems we will get the chance to find out if he was on the money. -- Tim Adams * Observer * Risk has been the central theme of Lewis's highly successful career. ... The fifth risk is something impossible to conceive of in advance, or to prepare for directly. What matters is having a well-organised government in place to respond to these contingencies when they hit - exactly what the Trump administration has failed to do. * Guardian * Lewis's remarkable books tend to tell the stories of underdogs, heroically independent-minded people who zag when the world zigs. * Evening Standard * Michael Lewis has a gift for identifying seemingly inaccessible subjects and spinning them into epic stories with Hollywood appeal. * New Statesman * Jaw-dropping ... genuinely stopped me in my tracks. -- Stefano Hatfield * i newspaper * Who will fight for the censuses of this world? Who will defend the research grants, food-voucher programmes and risk management projects that quietly sustain a healthy nation? Step forward Michael Lewis. ... The result is a civics lesson worth taking ... Stunning. His message is powerful ... reminds us why good institutions matter, why skilled public servants are critical and what our government is actually for. * Sunday Times * A page turner ... Lewis's most ambitious and important book. * The New York Times Book Review * Stranger and more terrifying than fiction ... The characters are riveting, and the drama intense. It's a story so jaw-dropping that at times it's hard to believe it was not invented for film ... It paints a picture of America being not just pulled apart at the political seams, but in the very fabric of the government itself. * Daily Telegraph *


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