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The Fifth Risk: Undoing Democracy (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

This IS NOT just another book bemoaning the Trump presidency, the ignorance, the terror. Actually, it is far more about the thousands of unsung heroes in government, the ones who try to keep us safe from disease, natural disasters, unsafe foods, and the seemingly insatiable greed of the few. By bringing attention to specific people and their departments, what they have accomplished during their time in government work, Lewis illuminates the incredibly important role of government in our lives and shows the danger and arrogance of focusing on mistakes when so much depends on what our government gets right. Mind you, the current administration's complete ignorance of what government does for the people and its collusion with special interests who just want to profit off taxpayer information is a key element in this, but it is overshadowed by the immense dedication of civil servants. Just Mercy made me want to go back to school and get a law degree; The Fifth Risk makes me want to work in government.

— Linda


The New York Times Bestseller, with a new afterword

"[Michael Lewis’s] most ambitious and important book." —Joe Klein, New York Times

Michael Lewis’s brilliant narrative of the Trump administration’s botched presidential transition takes us into the engine rooms of a government under attack by its leaders through willful ignorance and greed. The government manages a vast array of critical services that keep us safe and underpin our lives from ensuring the safety of our food and drugs and predicting extreme weather events to tracking and locating black market uranium before the terrorists do. The Fifth Risk masterfully and vividly unspools the consequences if the people given control over our government have no idea how it works.

About the Author

Michael Lewis is the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, Moneyball, The Blind Side, The Big Short, and The Undoing Project. He lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

Praise For…

A hymn to the 'deep state,' which is revealed as nothing more than people who know what they're talking about.
— Cory Doctorow

Fascinating—and at times harrowing…Lewis tells an important and timely story, one that all of us who pay for, care about, and want government to work should hear.
— Brian Naylor

Lewis has written a countercultural, almost subversive, book: one that praises the intellectual curiosity, dedication, foresight and sense of mission he finds among America’s federal workers.
— Carlos Lozada

[A] spellbinding, alarming analysis of the most serious threats to Americans’ safety happening now from inside the U.S. government.
— Don Oldenburg

[The Fifth Risk is] so prescient it’s goosepimpling.

— Jennifer Senior

Product Details
ISBN: 9780393357455
ISBN-10: 0393357457
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: December 3rd, 2019
Pages: 256
Language: English