Excellent book, but not for someone looking for a biographical history filled with famous personalities or a social history looking back at everyday life during a time of 25% unemployment. This is an economic history. It is recommended for anyone who would like a detailed anaylisis of how federal monetary policy errors can cause false booms by expanding the credit money supply, leading eventually to inevitable recessionary or depressionary corrections. It also explores how Keynesian fiscal policy tends to exacerbate and extend these periods of correction. Interesting, if for no other reason than this cycle of inflationary boom and recession/depression is still with us, and the same disproven tactics are still used as treatments. Anyone interested in the history of banking, finance or economics will probably find this a good read.
I was disappointed to discover that this well-written and adequately narrated title, listed as "unabridged," has one of its eleven chapters deliberately omitted by the audio producer. The missing chapter, four, explores what might have happened had the U.S. restored both gold and silver as monetary standards during post-war reconstruction in 1873, rather choosing only gold. Earlier and later passages occasionally refer to this missing chapter. More importantly, Friedman's thinking differs from standard wisdom on this issue. An announcement in the recording explains that those wishing to consider the omitted chapter must obtain the printed book and read it for themselves, suggesting that this material is too technical for a general reader. Perhaps Blackstone assumes that advanced readers do not use their products, or that general readers do not know how to skip ahead. Whatever the case, no book should be labeled "unabridged" if it has had a material amount of the author's prose removed.
I kept losing interest in this book, frequently having to rewind it after my mind had wandered.
"The Cup of the World" is, for the most part, a thin account of the few things that happen to a passive young woman named Phaedra. The plot covers a lonely few years around the time of her marriage to a man who is not what he seems and is rarely at home. Phaedra's world is decorated with the usual medieval fantasy elements, such as formal dialogue, swords and castles, along with an engaging mix of the less usual, including angelic names, pagan bloodlines and witch trials.
Despite what might be an interesting milieu, the book never really gets going. Phaedra herself is the problem. She has few desires and rarely takes action on her own. The writer might have compensated with interesting secondary characters or points of view, but chose otherwise. Instead, he limits us to Phaedra's viewpoint, then leaves her out of important events. We only hear about the doings of active characters afterward, from letters and stilted conversations. These are mixed with Phaedra's own ruminations as she moves aimlessly about her husband's castle or is led about by the few other characters she knows.
In short, this moody little novella was set adrift in the wider waters of the novel form, where it foundered. As a dark fairy tale, the story more or less works the way other heroine-in-a-castle tales work. Cut by two thirds, it would even have been passable--if only for the writer's style. The text is well-written, with a writerly sense of detail; it just isn't engaging.
The audio recording is passable. The reader has a clear and expressive voice, but the reading is marred by her habit of pausing for any punctuation as if it were a full period. Until growing used to it, a listener is likely to mistake the ends of sentences.......only to be unsettled later when they start up again.
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