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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World Hardcover – October 3, 2011
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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. "
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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 ›
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.
While the articles are great i read all the original ones and somehow expected more content for my money.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I have bought over a dozen copies of this book for friends and family. This book should be required reading for high school graduation.Published 3 days ago by K. Vogler
This is an excellent extension of his book "The Big Short". It is too bad that these books are not required reading in every high school and college. Read morePublished 5 days ago by AK_ED
This is my sixth book I've read by Michael Lewis. He has an uncanny ability to step back and really see the forest for the trees. Read morePublished 20 days ago by Stuart Kerr
Looking to get a set of books together to start a collection of business and any medical books I havePublished 1 month ago by Robert
A stroll through tiny pieces of the enormous debt disaster the world has become. Not definitive but a good easy starting point.Published 1 month ago by Jonathan Kos-Read
Mr. Lewis has done it again. Using his investigative skills and ability to tell a great story, he has continued his examination of the economic crisis that continues. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Chester John