From the global bestselling author of The Big Short, the gripping story of the maverick scientists who hunted down COVID-19
'It's a foreboding,' she said. 'A knowing that something is looming around the corner. Like how when the seasons change you can smell Fall in the air right before the leaves change and the wind turns cold.'
In January 2020, as people started dying from a new virus in Wuhan, China, few really understood the magnitude of what was happening. Except, that is, a small group of scientific misfits who in their different ways had been obsessed all their lives with how viruses spread and replicated – and with why the governments and the institutions that were supposed to look after us, kept making the same mistakes time and again.
This group saw what nobody else did. A pandemic was coming. We weren't prepared.
The Premonition is the extraordinary story of a group who anticipated, traced and hunted the coronavirus; who understood the need to think differently, to learn from history, to question everything; and to do all of this fast, in order to act, to save lives, communities, society itself. It's a story about the workings of the human mind; about the failures and triumphs of human judgement and imagination. It's the story of how we got to now.
Michael Lewis's global bestselling books lift the lid on the biggest stories of our times. They include Flash Boys, a game-changing exposé of high-speed scamming; The Big Short, which was made into a hit Oscar-winning film; Liar's Poker, the book that defined the excesses of the 1980s; and, most recently, The Fifth Risk, revealing what happens when democracy unravels. Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans and educated at Princeton University and the London School of Economics.
"When the stories of our times are told, there will be no more seminal documents than the books of Michael Lewis."
"He is so good everyone else may as well pack up."
– Evening Standard
"Michael Lewis is one of the premier chroniclers of our age."
– Huffington Post
"Superb [...] It is tremendous fun, tremendously told. There is a lot to take from it – about the inertia of the US civil service, about the "malignant obedience" of middle managers, about how people fearful of the pandemic were treated with the "wary indulgence of the sane in the presence of the fanatic" [...] Among those truths, in a familiar lesson for much of the world this year, is the danger of hubris."
– Tom Whipple, The Times
"A gripping story [...] This is a book about some brave, curious people who tried hard to swim against the tide. As always in a Lewis book they are brought vividly alive [...] Lewis is a master of his form."
– Christina Patterson, The Sunday Times
"A fluid intellectual thriller [...] As always with Lewis, the book is full of fascinating facts and personal angles."
– Steven Poole, Daily Telegraph Books of the Year 2021
"[Reading The Premonition] we see a disturbing common trait emerging in our country and others: the unwillingness to prioritise people's lives over ideas and ingrained structures."
– Kazuo Ishiguro, Observer Books of the Year 2021
"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 [...] Without his ever having to spell it out, Lewis's message comes across very powerfully: the US government, in its institutional dysfunction, is in danger of abandoning its citizens to a private sector that is even less equipped to deal with large-scale disasters such as COVID."
– Mark O'Connell, The Guardian