Many of us know pieces of the story of the restructuring of the American economy over the past several decades, as well as various sordid details of the recent financial crisis. Hedrick Smith, in this well-researched and clearly narrated book, puts what for most of us are pieces of the puzzle together in such a way that we see clearly the underlying pattern. And seeing it in its full extent is indeed dramatic. Seeing such a pattern is a critical step in beginning the long, arduous, but necessary process of reversing the trends that have drained the wealth of the American middle class.
I think this may be the most important book I have read in years, and recommend it without reservation.
i regret having purchased this audiobook...i listened to the preview and though i didn't like the narration i was so interested in this classic work that i thought i could overlook it. i was wrong. Brick is one of those narrators constantly inserting himself and his style into the reading so obtrusively that it is distracting. he has a sing-song cadence, and a kind of vague sighing style that is hugely irritating, and gets more so with time. almost like he is relating something with an ongoing sense of vague regret and superciliousness.
i finally got to the point, after only a short while, that i just couldn't stand it any more and decided to read the book instead. i with there were other readings of this series as i would very much enjoy listening to it, but not with this narrator.
obviously, this is a highly subjective judgment and others may enjoy the reading. but listen closely to the sample and if you find yourself finding the reading a bit intrusive, just know that that sense is likely to grow, not diminsh, as you listen to the book.
simon vance would have been good.
a decent narrator
the action and the humor
never. the worst narrator i have ever suffered through. seems to have no other "voice" than that of what he imagines a perpetually bored aristocrat might choke out.
frustration at the horrible narration
i listen to a lot of audiobooks. a lot. sometimes i don't finish because the content isn't worth the time. in this case, the content is quite good, and moves with pace. but the narration was so bad i finally gave up. i just couldn't stand listening to the narrator behave as though every voice in the story were a bored aristocrat. all the dialogue is overwrought, and even very funny scenes are flattened by the reading. since i could not find another version, i have switched to reading the book. all the other books in the D'Artagnan series are available narrated by simon vance, who is one of the best, and was indeed the reason i started the series - with The Three Musketeers. i enjoy vance's reading quite a lot and often buy audiobooks i would not otherwise due to his narration. i therefore bought all the books in the D'Artagnan series narrated by vance, without realizing that Twenty Years After is the second in the series, and if one skips it one is lost in much of the story that follows. as a result, i put up with davidson's narration as long as i could, and managed to get through the first third, at which point i gave up and am reading it instead.
i've only managed to get through two chapters of the book so far, so anything said here is based on a limited sample. that said, the reason for the slow progress is bad narration. i always listen to the clips of a book before making a decision on whether to buy it because i am quite sensitive to the quality of the narration. there are a couple of books i would dearly love to have audio versions of, but the narration is so intrusive that i can't buy them (for any who are familiar, the reader Stephen Hoye is a particularly glaring example of a bad narrator). the clip provided for Freefall provides no clue of how the narrator overacts and belabors simple points. through two chapters, the book is mainly a scold, providing little to no data to support the claims, but rather giving a schematic overview, along with a number of value judgments. i happen to agree with much of Stiglitz' analysis, but so far, i've learned nothing of value. worse, the narration is like a cranky grandfather wagging his finger and slowing down ... to... make... each...significant.......point, or gesticulating (aurally) urgently about a fairly straightforward idea. it's incredibly aggravating and distracting narration. i wish narrators would stay out of the way in expository works, and let the words speak for themselves. subtle intonation is fine, but this kind of narration is not.
all that said, because of my respect for dr. stiglitz, i intend to keep slogging through the schematic opening section to try to get to the detailed analysis. i will make one critique here, though, of his position. he argues that many of the policies adopted failed to serve their stated goals. to my mind, the policies and actions that led to the financial meltdown were not failures, they were successes. they succeeded in transferring massive wealth to the financial engineers, and away from everyone else. and i believe that that was their purpose.
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