Other professional historians might appreciate this book.
If the book meandered less, and was less soporific, it might have been more enjoyable.
If the performance could have kept me awake in spite of the poor material, it might have been better.
I would have shortened the sentences, and tried to bring some thematic coherence to the book.
The author's meandering and soporific prose, and the narrator's soothing performance, managed to make Balkan history actually boring - a remarkable achievement.
Based on an hour or so of listening time - all I could tolerate - the hero of this story is the CIA's ace torturer. The bad guy is the CIA Inspector-General, who is trying to stop their folks from torturing other folks. The quality of writing is about what one might expect from this story line - lots of one-dimensional characters, infantile philosophizing, and gratuitous violence. It was an especially depressing experience for me after listening to a string of grown-up books by thoughtful, accomplished writers. I blame myself for buying this book based on the description, without doing any research on the author and his other works. The performance was adequate, but also what one might expect given the material - the good guys all had deep, manly voices and the bad guys' voices were whiney and high-pitched.
The reader has a trick of appearing to run out of breath and gagging on his words in the middle of a sentence, apparently as a means of conveying emotion. He seems quite proud of this technique, because he uses it over and over again, pointlessly and without any regard to the dramatic context. Generally, the reading was grossly overacted to the point of distracting from the flow of the story.
Not having heard of Thomas Sowell, I chose this book hoping for an objective analysis of the housing boom and bust. I wanted to learn more about what happened. Instead, it became clear at the outset that Sowell was emphasizing the facts that best would support his libertarian opinions.
Change the title to make it clear this was a polemic, not an objective analysis.
Narrator was excellent - wonderfully clear, baritone voice.
It was clearly well researched, and the author's points were well documented. Unfortunately, all the facts were selected to support the author's opinions, not to provide a total picture.
From what I have read elsewhere, the crisis was caused by a combination of misguided government incentives (maybe 25%) and wild, unregulated greed on the part of financial institutions (maybe 75%). Sowell would have us believe the ratio is more like 95% to 5%. This is just not believable, and it leads us to the dangerously false conclusion that we need less bank regulation, not more. It makes you wonder if Sowell has a side business as a banking consultant.
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