The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis [9/10]

Michael Lewis is Hercules to us geeks, someone who views the world through the lens of data and analysis, but with a storyteller’s heroic gaze. His mind seems to range across the panoply of human ambitions and his approach is forensic yet his touch is light. The Fifth Risk at first seems to be a magazine commission’s offshoot and something slight, a look at the havoc wrought by Trump’s staggering disregard of the machinery of government, but as Lewis traipses down the corridors of DOE, USDA, DoC, NOAA and so on (let me baffle you with acronyms, so you head to buy this to check out what the public service heroes of America are really doing), one’s jaw drops and then crashes to the floor. And Lewis, our shining light, is not, of course, merely cataloguing one president’s wilful ignorance and disregard, he analyzes the nature of the societal risks posed by government’s such as Trump’s. Not only is The Fifth Risk endlessly fascinating, it is, as ever, a jaunty, deceptively casual and entertaining read. If you read one “tell me what Trump is really like” book in 2018, make it this one.

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