This is my third and final column devoted to the books I have read in the past year.
The Premonition of Michael Lewis: A Pandemic Story is yet another talk about misguided public policy and the people who worked to fix it.
In early 2020, as then US President Donald Trump viewed news from China of a deadly new virus as being of little significance, connoisseurs began to view it as potentially an equivalent pandemic. to the Spanish influenza pandemic of the beginning of the 20th century. .
Lewis pits a group of medical visionaries against the wall of ignorance that was the Trump administration’s official response to the early outbreaks of what has come to be known as COVID-19. It makes us care about the unsung heroes in this epic fight against directives they knew to be based on misinformation and bad science. The scope of his reporting is truly exceptional. This is a solid report on an exciting issue.
Simon Heffer, Well-known British historian, produced a vast and detailed history of Britain between 1880 and the start of the Great War. The Age of Decadence contradicts the popular image of Britain of this period as a powerful, content, orderly and prosperous country.
True, he had a vast empire and dominated international trade. Life expectancy was increasing rapidly and the population benefited from new civil liberties that were not dreamed of until the beginning of the 19th century. But Heffer points out that a poorly managed war in South Africa created substantial doubts about Britain’s imperial fate.
In addition, he describes how attempts to achieve vital social reforms provoked the most serious constitutional crises of the 20th century. It shows that while the vote was widely extended to men, Democratic reformers’ persistent and shameful contempt for women prompted protests from suffragists close to terrorism.
To top it off, it shows how the British ruling elite has fallen prey to degeneration and scandal. This book is, frankly, heavy but also incisive, comprehensive and well worth the effort.
In Danger, Bob Woodward (famous for Watergate) and acclaimed Washington Post reporter Robert Costa provided a stunning review of the end of the Trump presidency and the first months of the Biden administration. If the authors weren’t so credible, few would believe their story.
Trump’s strong belief, encouraged by sycophants and the non-factual media, that he actually won the 2020 presidential election was based on allegations of widespread electoral fraud.
Despite the complete absence of any evidence that such a major fraud has taken place, this fantasy has become an article of faith for those who aspire to a future in the Republican Party, thereby delegitimizing the GOP as a pillar of democracy.
The authors relentlessly accumulate overwhelming evidence of Trump’s inconvenience and his pathological inability to come to terms with defeat.
They also detail the steps Biden and members of his cabinet have taken to counter the sharp decline in U.S. voter confidence in the government.
If you want to see up close how Trump denied reality and how his ardent supporters aided and abetted his absurd stance, this book is for you. Equally entertaining and depressing, it also paints a clear picture of the failures of both parties in the Senate.
The really scary villain here is Mitch McConnell, the Republican Leader of the Senate. As the authors show, expanding the powers of the GOP is more important to it than its oath to support the US Constitution.
For years Thomas Homer-Dixon has been nicknamed the Master of fate because of his repeated predictions of the deterioration of the global environment.
In his latest book, Commanding Hope: The Power We Have to Renew a World in Peril, he uses his extraordinary knowledge of the science of complexity, how societies operate and can evolve, and our ability to manage threats, to show that we can change civilization. on a new effective path if we mobilize our minds, spirits, imagination and collective values.
This book challenges the reader to think carefully about the arguments he is making and to decide how committed we are to the cause. I urge anyone concerned about the climate crisis to read this thought-provoking volume.
David Bond is a retired bank economist who lives in Kelowna.