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Boomerang : travels in the new Third World
Michael Lewis
Adult Nonfiction HB3717 2008 .L49 2011

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From Publishers' Weekly:

Essentially an offbeat travelogue, Lewis's latest examines the recent global financial crisis by visiting the locales that have faltered beyond reasonable expectation. Though journalistic, there is a distinctly anthropological approach to vivid depictions of how particular cultural values contributed to such a bizarre, devastating series of events. In his dynamic narrative, Lewis simplifies complex financial systems without condescension, applies a degree of rationality to absurd decisions, and presents key individuals' profiles without denigration. Dark, deadpan humor is injected throughout: Iceland as a nation of fishermen-cum-hedge fund managers with "no idea what they were doing"; Greece's "fantastic mess" of scandalous monasteries, tax-evasion and top-down corruption; Ireland's busted banks and stratospheric losses debilitating a now "distinctly third world" country. Germany is singled-out for its "preternatural love of rules" and naivete regarding the so-called "riskless asset" while California tops the list of "America's scariest financial places" following their ratings downgrade and piling debts. Easily devoured in one sitting, Lewis (Moneyball) manages to gracefully explain what happened with a unique regard for both the strengths and weaknesses of humankind. (Oct.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

From Library Journal:

Lewis (The Big Short) puts his own spin on financial-disaster tourism, traveling to places we hear about in the headlines but whose economic troubles few of us really understand: Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany, and even California. Originally written as a series of articles for Vanity Fair, these pieces all reflect Lewis's flair for making complex financial shenanigans comprehensible to the nonbusiness reader as well as his talent for teasing character profiles (like the Texas financier who bought 20 million nickels for their metal value) and stories out of nameless bureaucracies and amorphous events. The individual chapters are engaging, but they remain a somewhat disconnected group without much in the way of an introduction or conclusion to bring them together. Lewis also tends to engage in a bit of cultural stereotyping that may not be to all readers' taste-Icelanders, for example, have a "feral streak," and Germans are fascinated with all things scheisse (shit). Verdict Lewis is red-hot right now (thanks in no small part to recent movie versions of The Blind Side and Moneyball) and there will be demand for this title, which, despite its shortcomings and depressing subject matter, is fascinating.-Sarah Statz Cords, The Reader's Advisor Online (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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