I heard so many good things about this book (and the fact that many schools recommend it) that I was very eager to read it myself. What a letdown! In fact, the book actually made me feel that the government was correct in what they did to individuals of Japanese decent during WW II, something I never thought before!
We are never lead to believe that the family this tale revolves around are actually citizens of the United States but rather are resident aliens. Pearl Harbor has just been attacked by Japan for no reason other than pure aggression. Americans DIED there, and many, many more DIED on the Pacific warfront over the next several years. Yet when the family's matriarch is asked to swear loyalty to the United States, her attitude is one of "I'll say yes because I don't want to make trouble, because I don't want to go back to Japan, because these are only meaningless words to me." This is when I completely lost all sympathy with the family.
Yes, the book shows the subsequent desintegration of the family that the war had caused. But, as the author points out, many families that were their neighbors also suffered losses and family disruptions. Their husbands and sons were separated to war and many never came back.
Was our government right to do what it did during those war years? Personally I don't think so, but this book certainly didn't reinforce my sympathy.
This book should be required reading whatever your political leaning. It uses non-disputible facts to make predictions of where our economy will be headed given what has recently happened to our current economy.
This book was written a year or so ago. What is scary is that some of Reich's predictions *are already coming true.*
Some of Reich's proposed fixes sound controversial, even for a liberal like me. However, the idea of Social Security probably sounded just as foreign in 1937.
To all our current, future, or would-like-to-be political leaders. You all have a reading assignment: this book.
The years during which Prohibition was the law of the land were extremely important in our nations history. American history witnessed the age of invention, a golden age for business, increasing wealth, great contributions to the arts and sciences. The effect of Prohibition on these years was pivotal, and a detailed study of why it happened and what went wrong has never really been written until this book came along.
I thought the book was well written, at least of the amount presented here. I generally do not like abridged editions because they put a slant on the authors intent. I mean, if the author could have written what he wanted to say in fewer words, why wouldn't 've he. As I listened, I kept on wondering what was left out. So, one star off for that.
I agree with a previous writer here. The author was *not* the person to be reading this book. His phrasing is simply terrible. He has a habit of pausing before the last word in a sentence. Very annoying. One star off for that.
In this day and age, there is simply no excuse to abridge an audiobook, especially since an unabridged version has not been offered as well. The author and his writing were not well served here.
There are many similarities between our great depression and or current great recession. Understanding the former goes a long way to understanding the latter. This book brings up Roosevelts New Deal agenda, the conservative Supreme Court's opposition and the resulting battle that was waged. Of paramount significance is the realization that today's conservative movement got its start with Roosevelt's defeat to pack the Supreme Court.
The book's presentation is first rate. Mel Foster was an inspired choice to be narrator. His imitation of Roosevelt is right on the mark. A must listen!
Being a native New Yorker, I love reading stories about New York, its people, its energy, its quirkiness. That's what attracted me to this trilogy. But these three novellas are just too, too bizarre. They read like a cross between The Twilight Zone and The Naked City. In fact, each would probably work better as a teleplay than as a novella. I finished the three being totally befuddled and disappointed.
Although the material left me cold, the production values were first rate. Very well read and produced with great sound listening at the enhanced level. Audible did a great job producing this version of the work.
The story of the rise and fall of Bear Sterns, the investment banking group as told through its three day free fall and collapse and then in flash back to its beginnings, rise, nadir then end, finally moving forward to related matters: the collapse of Lehman Bros, and the sale of Merrill Lynch. Regarding content, the book is interesting but as others have noted here, poorly edited. Regarding the audiobook, the reader is excellent, but the audiobook seems to have been assembled rather than simply read. You can hear edit after edit as if alternate takes of paragraphs, sentences, even words were dropped in. This may not be audible if listening in a living room, but it certainly is audible with ear devices.
If you want to become an informed citizen and not throw away your ballot in what is looking more and more like the most important election in fifty years, this book, along with former Vice President Al Gore’s recent book, are required reading. Presented in a manor easy to understand, even with statistical research thrown in, Mr Krugman's attack on Movement Conservatism and its threat to all things we hold sacred hits like an approaching storm. His antidotes to get us back on track are well thought out and seem amazingly reachable, like the calm after the storm is over.
Five stars also go to the reader. It's read like it was actually written by him.
Only an informed citizenry is capable of make sound decisions about the future of our country. With the approaching presidential election, this is another of those works that should be read by all of us so that we can better judge who will lead us for the next four years. What is so wonderful about this book is that it gives the reader the background to understand what is happening in the news even as I write this review. Listen and learn. You won't regret it!
Let me say first that I am a great admirer of President Clinton. I voted for him (twice) and was saddened when he left office. As a narrator he is simply superb.
But there are two problems with the audiobook: First, the book's nature is more of a reference text than an inspiration. It's ultimate goal is to provide you ways to be philanthropic. Having the physical information in front of you is ultimately more useful than just an audio narration. Inspiration from this book may goad you to go out and buy the physical book itself as a reference text.
The second problem with the book is that some of the examples cited show a naivete surprising for a man such as Mr Clinton. For example: he continually cites the Bill and Linda Gates Foundation. Mr Gates built his wealth via predatory business practices that even today are being attacked in courts around the world. This is, essentially, blood money, and much akin to what Carnegie and Frick did 100 years ago when they built their empires and then relinquished them later in life. Reading about this was a true turn-off and it happened so early in the book that, to me, called into question a lot of what was written later.
I looked forward to this book because 1) of the quality of Ken Burns' work on past topics of American History and 2) I feel WWII, more than any other conflict the United States was a part of, tells us how we came to be what we are as a nation and what we became afterwards. The narrative did not disappoint. It was well written and frank, breaking many of the myths that we learned in school about how we just rose up and saved the world after we were attacked by Imperial Japan in 1941. I listened to the book before I saw the PBS series and you can see the close relationship between the two.
So, why only three stars? Well, one star was removed simply because this is an abridged version and it doesn't appear that an unabridged version exists. Call me rigid, but NO abridged version can substitute for reading the authors' full intent. Abridgment means compromise.
The second star was removed because, frankly, although Ken Burns may produce extraordinary documentaries, he is a TERRIBLE reader. Rather than reading in phrases and pausing after a thought is complete, he pauses after every two or three words, whether it makes sense to do so or not: "The boy (pause) went to (pause) the store." The entire reading is riddled with this kind of phraseology and it becomes annoying after awhile because it often forces you to go back and repeat what he has said in order make sense of it. Ugh!
An extraordinary work of fiction. Young readers may find it tedious because the action proceeds slowly but continue on and you won't be disappointed...except that is for the ending. What a let down! A typical Hollywood-style ending that made me feel cheated. It was just too easy. I agree with other astute commentators here in that it almost seems like the author was bored with writing, and did a quick ending because he had to make his train.
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