The BookBrowse Review

Published May 15, 2019

ISSN: 1930-0018

printable version
This is a free edition of our twice-monthly magazine, The BookBrowse Review,
which is just one of the benefits of membership for just $3.25 a month!
Join Today | Renew | BookBrowse for Libraries | Give a Gift Membership
Back    Next


In This Edition of
The BookBrowse Review

Highlighting indicates debut books

Editor's Introduction
Hardcovers Paperbacks
First Impressions
Latest Author Interviews
Recommended for Book Clubs
Book Discussions

Discussions are open to all members to read and post. Click to view the books currently being discussed.

Publishing Soon


Historical Fiction


Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Speculative, Alt. History


History, Science & Current Affairs

Young Adults


  • Blog:
    The Caribbean: A Reading List for Book Clubs and Bookworms
  • Wordplay:
    I I T S Form O F
  • Book Giveaway:
    My husband asked me to lie. Not a big lie...
Book Jacket

The Rationing
by Charles Wheelan
21 May 2019
464 pages
Publisher: W.W. Norton & Company
ISBN-13: 9781324001485
Genre: Novels
mail to a friend   

Political backstabbing, rank hypocrisy, and dastardly deception reign in this delightfully entertaining political satire, sure to lift one's spirits far above the national stage.

America is in trouble―at the mercy of a puzzling pathogen. That ordinarily wouldn't lead to catastrophe, thanks to modern medicine, but there's just one problem: the government supply of Dormigen, the silver bullet of pharmaceuticals, has been depleted just as demand begins to spike.

Set in the near future, The Rationing centers around a White House struggling to quell the crisis―and control the narrative. Working together, just barely, are a savvy but preoccupied president; a Speaker more interested in jockeying for position―and a potential presidential bid―than attending to the minutiae of disease control; a patriotic majority leader unable to differentiate a virus from a bacterium; a strategist with brilliant analytical abilities but abominable people skills; and, improbably, our narrator, a low-level scientist with the National Institutes of Health who happens to be the world's leading expert in lurking viruses.

Little goes according to plan during the three weeks necessary to replenish the stocks of Dormigen. Some Americans will get the life-saving drug and others will not, and nations with their own supply soon offer aid―but for a price. China senses blood and a geopolitical victory, presenting a laundry list of demands that ranges from complete domination of the South China Sea to additional parking spaces at the UN, while India claims it can save the day for the U.S.

"An entertaining political satire that follows the handling of a national medical crisis both in the White House and in the lab...the pages generally flutter by quickly, fueled by the political heat and Wheelan's smooth, workmanlike prose." - Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"[A] race-against-the-clock satire....Wheelan draws deeply on his intimate knowledge of the world of governance and politics to create his first novel, an eminently credible tale of a worst-case scenario that one hopes never comes to pass." - Booklist

"The plot and characters are not especially unique, but readers looking to explore challenging contemporary topics with just a touch of speculative fiction's distancing effect will find this well worth a look." - Publishers Weekly

"A brilliant and bold novel. Get ready for twists and turns, exploring life and death decisions, and the intrigue, good and bad, of political leadership as the country searches to solve a pathogen crisis. This is an exciting and exhilarating read, and provides some needed lessons for our country today." - Matthew Dowd, chief political analyst, ABC News

Charles Wheelan is the author of the best-selling Naked Statistics and Naked Economics and is a former correspondent for The Economist. He teaches public policy and economics at Dartmouth College and lives in Hanover, New Hampshire, with his family.

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.