The Fifth Risk by Michael Lewis. A brilliant researcher and no nonsense historian, Lewis examines the transition of several key government agencies between Obama’s and Trump’s administrations. Lewis is, as always, disciplined and relies on facts to underscore his characters and their work. He retains distance and as much objectivity as possible given the stark differences in understanding and appreciation for the important work being done inside government.
Given the dynamics of where we are as a country, this is an important book for Americans to read. There is a large segment of our society that seems to have little understanding or desire to understand the role of government. Who in fact loudly and assertively advocate for sweeping cuts in programs and departments they have little understanding of—simply repeating the simplistic mantra that all government is bad. They are ignorant of the very important work done in every single facet of our lives that we all benefit from greatly. This book makes no attempt to pretend government is perfect or even evaluate efficiencies in any meaningful way—but it does convey that there is very important work that must be done to protect our interests and citizens and the majority of these tasks are not relevant or viable for private sector. In fact, Lewis cites several examples of progressive and successful private sector companies whose existence relies heavily upon data compiled by federal government sources.
It’s a book that is unlikely to be read by the people who would benefit the most from reading it, or at least I think that’s a correct statement, but a truly informative piece of deeply researched journalism.