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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World Hardcover – October 3, 2011


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; 1 edition (October 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780393081817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393081817
  • ASIN: 0393081818
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (507 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #48,344 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“Michael Lewis possesses the rare storyteller’s ability to make virtually any subject both lucid and compelling. In his new book, Boomerang, he actually makes topics like European sovereign debt, the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank not only comprehensible but also fascinating… The book could not be more timely given the worries about Europe’s deepening debt crisis and the recent warning issued by Christine Lagarde, managing director of the I.M.F., that 'the current economic situation is entering a dangerous phase.'

Combining his easy familiarity with finance and the talents of a travel writer, Mr. Lewis sets off in these pages to give the reader a guided tour through some of the disparate places hard hit by the fiscal tsunami of 2008, like Greece, Iceland and Ireland, tracing how very different people for very different reasons gorged on the cheap credit available in the prelude to that disaster. The book — based on articles Mr. Lewis wrote for Vanity Fair magazine — is a companion piece of sorts to The Big Short: Inside the Doomsday Machine, his bestselling 2010 book about the fiscal crisis. Like that earlier book its focus is narrow. It doesn’t aspire to provide a broad overview of the debt crisis but instead hands the reader a small but sparkling prism by which to view the problem, this time from a global perspective.

At times Mr. Lewis can sound a lot like Evelyn Waugh: shrewd, observant and savagely judgmental, dispensing crude generalizations about other countries, even as he pokes fun at himself as a disaster tourist.

Mr. Lewis’s ability to find people who can see what is obvious to others only in retrospect or who somehow embody something larger going on in the financial world is uncanny. And in this book he weaves their stories into a sharp-edged narrative that leaves readers with a visceral understanding of the fiscal recklessness that lies behind today’s headlines about Europe’s growing debt problems and the risk of contagion they now pose to the world.” (New York Times)

About the Author

Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar’s Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife and three children.

More About the Author

Michael Lewis, the author of Boomerang, Liar's Poker, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game and The Big Short, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their three children.

Customer Reviews

All of these books are very easy to read and hard to put down.
AdamSmythe
Michael Lewis does a phenomenal job of taking you through the vicious journey of the financial crisis in some of the worst hit places in the world.
Amazon Customer
I sympathize with those who read most, but not all, of this book in Vanity Fair.
aatdb

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

798 of 830 people found the following review helpful By AdamSmythe on September 20, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I admit to being a fan of Michael Lewis' books, so take that into consideration as you read this review. Lewis earned a masters degree in economics from the London School of Economics and went to work as a bond trader for Salomon Brothers before its scandals. His education and investment experience qualified him to write "Liar's Poker" in 1989, though I have no idea what qualified him to write such an entertaining and lucid description of the Wall Street culture of that time. Subsequently, I have read Lewis' "Moneyball" (in 2003), "The Blind Side" (in 2006), and "The Big Short" (in 2010). All of these books are very easy to read and hard to put down. They tell well-researched, interesting stories. In the case of "The Big Short" it helps to illuminate the origins of the financial crisis that broke starting in 2007.

In Lewis' latest book, "Boomerang," the subtitle is, "Travels in the New Third World." Lewis is not referring to Asian or Latin American countries here. He's talking about European countries that drank the elixir of seemingly endless and cheap credit prior to the bursting of the recent financial bubble. To say that cheap credit transformed the economies in Greece, Ireland and Iceland, for example, is to understate the impact of the financial bubble on these countries. Talk about a timely book--I am writing this during September 2011, and yet this book refers to the recent downgrade of U.S. debt, which occured only last month, beginning on page 171.

As in many of Lewis' books, there's a new person who you probably never heard of before to meet. In "Moneyball" it was Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics baseball team, and in "The Big Short" it was Steve Eisman, Michael Burry and others.
Read more ›
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436 of 469 people found the following review helpful By Brian Balkus on October 4, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The entire book with the exception of a short introduction is available for free online. I knew the book was based off articles in Vanity Fair, but I did not realize that there was no new content. I just wanted to warn anyone that subscribes to VF that they are paying for the content twice if they purchase this book.If you feel like saving money, you can find the articles that comprise the book on VF's website.

Update: Since I wrote this review, VF has placed the Iceland article behind their pay wall. You can still find it for free by searching for "Vanity Fair Iceland." All other articles can be found for free on VF's website; just search for "Michael Lewis Vanity Fair" and then click on the index of his articles.
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62 of 69 people found the following review helpful By Alexey B. on October 7, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I like Mr. Lewis' books. I admire his entertaining style and his insight, and I read all his new books. His series of articles on the European crisis is a must for everyone, and exceptionally well written. But I had already paid for this content TWO times.

For example, take his first essay, "The Wall Street On Tundra".

I bought a Vanity Fair's issue (April 2009) where it was first published. And it is difficult to buy this magazine in Europe.
Then in September 2010 I paid for this article as part of "The Great Hangover: 21 Tales of the New Recession from the Pages of Vanity Fair" by Harper Perennial. Fair enough.

And then in October 2011 I found this book, "Boomerang", on Amazon and I thought, this is the extended and revised version of the text I liked so much, I should buy this. But this was the very same article, without any changes.

It is normal for a journalist to sell his article two times, for a magazine and for a book. But repackaging the content for a second book in a year is too much for me. Mr. Lewis could have extended this text, he could have described subsequent events or at least he could have edited this article in order to make it more readable (why should I automatically understand that the phrase "On February 3" means "On February 3, 2009", because this was first published in 2009? Or maybe I should because I already have read this two times). A month's work would have make this book worth paying for, more interesting and more up to date. Instead, two and a half years after it was first published, I mistakingly paid for the same text and got nothing new. I was disappointed.
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242 of 287 people found the following review helpful By frogster on September 30, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is basically just a collection of 5 pieces done for vanity fair and available for free on their homepage.
While the articles are great i read all the original ones and somehow expected more content for my money.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Joseph Psotka on October 12, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Instead of reading the articles in Vanity Fair, I bought the book and found it a completely comfortable ride through the the countryside of some unbelievable places. You don't get any detailed view of things, sort of like having lightning flashes as you ride along, but the scenes are startling and make you reflect in ways that I would have wanted Lewis to do. Instead you just see his grotesque mask - like smile reflected in the windows. His analyses are fun, but misleadingly shallow. These three countries' slide into bankruptcy - Iceland, Ireland, Greekland - are amazing stories that seem completely unreal, even science fiction at times; but Lewis provides no real understanding for what went on and what will happen in the future. AS he points out, Germany seems the key to which direction the bailout of Greece will take, and whether or not the international economy will take another post-Lehman-like dive; but instead of giving us the real dirt on Germany's intentions, he diverts us with entertaining but highly irrelevant side trip into their fascination with feces and coprophilia. After all, what really distinguishes the fleissig hard working Germans from the Greek and Irish seems to have more to do with their determined trust and cooperation with each other, more like the other scandinavians, than with prurient coprophilia. How did they become so trusting - was it the utter devastation of WWII and the enormous hangover of guilt from the Nazi era? What taught them to be so rulebound that they demand ubiquitous order in all things?Was it the utter devastation and disorder of the black market?Read more ›
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