Subscribe: iTunes | Google Play Music | How to Listen

For the 15 years it’s been around, the Book Review’s podcast has never missed an episode. But during the coronavirus crisis, we’re going back to our archives for the time being. This week, we have an especially — unfortunately — timely episode. In October 2018, Michael Lewis visited us to talk about his book “The Fifth Risk,” which is about the government’s management of risks — a subject he said didn’t seem exciting to him until the election of Donald J. Trump “electrified” the material.

“If you take a catastrophic risk, something that’s like a one-in-a-million chance of happening and make it one in 10,000, still very remote, but increasing the likelihood a hundred times, people don’t feel it,” Lewis said. “And I had this sense, when Trump was elected and the way he was approaching governing, that he was doing that, across a big portfolio of risks. One way to think of the federal government is as the manager of a giant portfolio of risks, many of them catastrophic.”


Also on this episode, Tana French discussed her latest novel, “The Witch Elm”; and Dwight Garner, Parul Sehgal and Jennifer Szalai talked about the books they had recently reviewed. Pamela Paul is the host.

Here are the books discussed by The Times’s critics on this episode:

We would love to hear your thoughts about this episode, and about the Book Review’s podcast in general. You can send them to [email protected].