Kansas City, MO, United States | Member Since 2011
I thought it would be good. I thought I'd learn a little about history and maybe know more about a President forgotten by time. This was SO much more than that.
At once a wonderful character study of a man who never wanted to be President, who hated campaigning for office, who conquered every subject matter he encountered and who was on the verge of fighting for noble causes in the White House and the study of the man who shot him twice (but didn't kill him), who had lost all touch with reality and who had every opportunity to turn his life around. It would have been great had it just been the story of these two men and how their lives somehow collided.
But it is also a picture of the people surrounding the White House, those struggling for power, those (like Garfield's Vice President) who wanted LESS power and the story of two men you have heard of, but never knew as more than caricatures of history (Alexander Graham Bell and Dr. Lister, and how they were so much more than our history books tell us).
This is also the story of what happens when a nation generates and ignores certain scientific discoveries. Had the doctors who cared for Garfield understood the medical procedures used for the previous 15 years in Europe, then Garfield would have lived. His doctors killed him, and the deterioration of his condition is so painful you will cringe in your seat. At the same time, we watch Bell invent something you had no idea he was involved with, and how his work AFTER inventing the telephone saved countless lives.
This is a marvelous book, exciting, adventurous and educational. I loved every minute of it. Buy it now. You will not regret it.
I've read Paul Krugman books, I've read about the collapse of Bear Stern, I've read Lewis' aftermath book, "Travels in the New Third World" and they've been amazing and enlightening, but never before has the structure of the financial collapse and its exact cause been so clearly delineated. This book doesn't dumb down, doesn't simplify, but tells a human and exciting story about a market gone completely mad and the few people who saw it coming. You'll learn about Wall Street, how it ticks and what happened between 2005 and 2008.
The narrator is spot on, the pacing is perfect, the information is incredible and understandable for someone without an economics background, the characters are well drawn and likeable, but more than anything this is a cracking good story of an imminent disaster and exactly what went wrong. Please, please read it!
The description of this book is not very good. Here's the story: there's an island, it's isolated from those near it. It's devoid of trees. It has no reefs, so there are few fish to catch. There are no large animals to hunt. It's only 64 square miles large. Oh yeah, and somehow and for some reason the indigenous people didn't die out but managed to make over 900 multi-ton statues of human faces and move them from a quarry in the middle of the island to the shores, all facing inward. So what happened?
This book, written by two scientists who have studied Easter Island for many years, take you through the evidence in the soil, the remains and the artifacts and tackle one individual mystery after another until your perception of this small island and these amazing people has completely altered. It's a little clerical, a little less storytelling than scientific analysis, but it's an amazing read. The thought process and the way these people look at the real data and come to completely new conclusions that in hindsight make such sense, is the way people should confront the problems in their own lives.
Also, it's such a good story of history and pre-history that you should definitely add it to your cart.
Without excess commentary or moralizing or hindsight judgement, Richard Evans relentlessly describes the descent of Germany into chaos and anarchy and the rise of Hitler and his political movement. He takes time along the way to understand each of the major players who through assertion of will or neglect of responsibility allowed the Third Reich to rise and take control of Germany.
The narration is straightforward, clear and interesting. The prose is so well timed and so accurately paced that the style deserves it own accolades. The content is flawless as well, describing the political and economic realities that crushed Germany and made it ripe soil for a tyrannical government.
Like any good work of history, it attempts to simply understand. And this is a great work of history. I'm reading the rest of the series, I can tell you that!
Just wow! That's all there is to say. Through painstaking interviews and research, the author constructs the history of this bizarre firm, Bear Sterns, how the personalities of its CEOs determined its future from the twenties on and then how within a week it all fell apart, wiping out billions in wealth almost overnight. Though it is a book about the history of a banking firm, it has an urgency and pacing more reminiscent of a thriller. The people come alive on the pages and the incredible hubris and greed that overwhelms them will shock you, the infighting will excite you and the collapse will astonish you.
The writing is neat and evocative, the reader is amazing and the story itself is almost too eccentric to be real. But it is, and it will help you understand the financial crisis in America and how it came about.
Definitely get this book, it's so much all at once.
I had heard wonderful things about Tina French and her series about the detectives in a major crimes squad. So I eagerly picked up this book which a friend had recommended to me. Boy, was that a mistake.
The crime is interesting enough and the solution is quite good. But it takes FOREVER to get there. The prose is dry and plodding, the characters are okay but by the end I didn't care what happened to them at all. I never felt a sense of urgency or action to this plot. The interpersonal relationships are so overdone that it felt like a seedy drama rather than a mystery and worst of all the ending just kind of happens, without interest or fanfair. I didn't care about the people or the plot or the action at all by the end.
Moreover, there is a large subplot about the author's past which is mentioned continuously and then NEVER resolved. The main plot has a killer, but there's no urgency on catching him or her, and when it finally happens its almost besides the point. It could have been so much better.
Here's the thing, this should have been really good. Four stories about the supernatural world colliding with our own, of ghost dogs and other realities and angels. But every author here wants to drag out the story as much as possible and each seems to resent the very implication that characters should be interesting, plots should be at least somewhat unpredictable and stories of the supernatural should scare or enlighten, but not proslytize or sermonize. The narrators are pretty good, but none of these stories ever captures the imagination. And isn't that the whole point?
But this is one of those rare instances where the movie is better than the book. I'm sorry to say it, but it's true. The plot is essentially the same, but somehow the pacing of the novel does not really ever catch on, the plot doesn't shock you, the description isn't as terrifying and the pace doesn't force you to stay up longer and listen to more, to see how it all happens. The story is essentially the same, Starling uses a connection with a convicted serial killer named Hannable Lectur to catch another killer called Buffalo Bill. Her relationship with him deepens as he becomes obsessed with her. The race against the clock to catch Bill deepens as well, since his latest victim is the daughter of a prominent politician.
But there's extra bits to the plot the movie cut out, such as Starling's educational career, which just slow down the plot. This should be a fast paced story of terror and killers, but it never really catches. I really wanted to love it, but I just didn't. Sorry.
Come on! Why are you reading a review! It's narrated by Samuel L. Jackson! Just buy the thing!
This book came about before the crisis started in the United States, but in it Krugman examined the economic situation in Latin America and Asia and draws startling conclusions about the fragility of the current shadow banking system and the lure of free credit that spread throughout the world at the beginnings of this century. When his predictions came true he updated the book to include information about America and re-released it. This book is a treasure, full of insight, description and enough actual economic theory to understand the crisis and not just balk at it.
Moreover, Krugman's writing is masterful. He deftly describes serious economic topics in very straightforward language. You come away not only informed but able to talk about what you learned with people. Today, we spend so much time watching talking heads try to figure out what to do about debt and employment. This book lets you understand the conversation and know who's serious and who's seriously dangerous. Please buy this book, please read it and get involved in the conversation!
I'm an avid reader of books on economics, such as the masterpieces by Paul Krugman, and I eagerly picked up Boomerrang because it's a topic I care about and I loved reading his famous "Moneyball". I was highly entertained and educated by this book, but I still feel it lacks something.
Let's start with the positve, though. We watch our author travel to Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California. He examines how the glut of free credit that circled the world in the early 2000s was accepted and used and how those accesses turned into ruin. Each country exhibits a quirky and fascinating quality of him and to you, the reader. He does a nice job at examining how the credit was spent and how the system collapsed. By the end we have seen a collage of images.
But he fails to examine the larger Euro-Zone or to fit these pieces together into a meaningful message or educational point. There is no summation, no understanding of how the crises we witnessed are interrelated or what can be done about it or what policies would prevent it in the future. The books deserves to be longer, more thought proking and more in depth. It's not, and so it doesn't quite feel complete. That said, I still enjoyed it and would recommend it.
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