This was, from start to finish, one of the most engaging audio books I've listened to. Mayer covers the Bush administration from the eve of 9/11 until the end of its tenure with a focus on its manipulation of the law for political ends, especially as it related to executive power and the right to redefine how captured enemy combatants are treated. Far from being a critique of President Bush himself, she underlines his willingness to acquiesce to Cheney and his legal counsel, David Addington, in all matters regarding the treatment of prisoners and the methods by which intelligence was being extracted from them. It is a damning indictment of the unelected bureaucrats who cared more for their own peculiar and idiosyncratic dogmas than for the constitution of the United States, the separation of powers, or the will of the American people.
My only caution is - don't listen to it while you're trying to fall asleep; it will make you so angry, you won't get any.
This is one of the most complete histories of the CIA I have encountered. It is incredibly detailed and yet still managed to hold my attention all the way through.
A number of interesting threads weave through this history. One is the massive shifts between a dangerous lack of oversight and a devastating lack of independence of the Agency. Another is the shameful misuse of this intelligence tool as doctrinal and political hammer, instead of a gatherer and analyzer of information.
The author cleverly paints a portrait of a governmental entity so badly structured at its core, that it leaves the reader wondering if any amount of restructuring could ever remedy some of the most basic flaws of its architecture.
The choice of reader was perfect for this book. Understated, clear-spoken and precise.
Always on the lookout for my next great listen!
Crash of the Titans is a spiraling story that spans the 80 year history of Merrill Lynch and Bank of America in a back and forth, non-linear path. Understanding the back story and living through the storm as a Bank of America associate during the Great Recession, I was able to follow the cast of characters and timeline of events with ease. But I can't imagine someone outside of the firm being able to make the same connections as easily without having to re-read (or re-listen) to many sections.
But if you can follow the timeline of events, understand the basics of the banking terms and functions of capital markets, the story is awesome. It is a can't miss thrill ride that puts a human context around the headlines that splashed the front pages of newspapers for weeks between 2007 and 2008. Everyone we though were villains were not necessary so. Everyone we thought were hero weren't so innocent either.
Dan Woren speaks life into this very intriguing story written by Greg Farrell. Unlike some narrators of business books, Woren was no overly dry or stiff in tone. For those of us who enjoy business and non-fiction audiobooks, the narrator is key. And Woren's performance kept me going and gave feeling to each of the Wall Street bankers her spoke for.
In all, this audiobook was well worth the credit, but it is not for the faint of heart. The story treats the reader (listener) as if they understand the basics of capital markets and jumps around with the timeline. But the holistic story of how an icon like the Thundering Herd of Merrill Lynch who helped restore confidence in the market by middle America after the 1929 stock market crash until its own demise is enthralling for those of us who lived through it.