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The Escape Artists MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged
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About the Author
Audiobook veteran Michael Kramer has recorded more than two hundred audiobooks for trade publishers and many more for the Library of Congress Talking Books program. An AudioFile Earphones Award winner and an Audie Award nominee, he earned a Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award for his reading of Savages by Don Winslow.
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Top Customer Reviews
Although Scheiber covers the same territory as a number of other recent books, there is a great deal of new information here that makes the book valuable as a first draft of history. Scheiber's punctilious coverage of the internecine battles among Obama's economic advisers alone sets his book apart. In particular, Scheiber lays bare for the first time National Economic Chair Lawrence Summers' thoroughgoing efforts to bury CEA Chairwoman Christina Romer's recommendation for a much larger, $1.8-trillion stimulus package in the first months of the administration. The exceptional detail of this episode is quite helpful in furthering the picture of Summers as hectoring bully that has emerged in more breathless, but less satisfying, books, such as Ron Suskind's "Confidence Men."
And while the reportage in "The Escape Artists" is terrific, Scheiber's lucid analysis of the 2009-2010 economic terrain gives the book an added dimension. Indeed, Scheiber's explication of the path not taken with respect to additional stimulus, derivative regulation, and "too big to fail" financial institutions is as helpful as anyone will find anywhere. This book deserves a widespread audience and here's to hoping that it finds one.
Some general interest issues:
A. Noam Scheiber is obviously a strong, if occasionally hyperbolic, writer who writes with a novelist's panache. The editor, however, could been tougher and reined him more. There are a number of places in which they could have demanded more coherence. The most obvious example of this is the title, which doesn't make much sense on a number of levels. The phrase `the escape artists' doesn't clearly point to any central theme, and the word `fumbled' isn't an accurate description of what Scheiber describes (except for a homeowner relief package mentioned toward the end of the book). A more accurate subtitle for this work would have been `How Republicans tripped up the economic recovery'.
Scheiber himself, however, seems to reluctant to reach this conclusion, in part I suspect because he doesn't want to appear partisan and in part because if that really was the story, that would mean a different book with a whole set of more interviews. I'm not saying this to blame Republicans but to say that Scheiber doesn't want to go where his evidence is leading him. And if he followed the trail, he would have had to interview a lot more Hill Republicans, which might have complicated the story he got from talking to White House insiders. Or it might have made him squarely face his own evidence that Wall Street effectively captured a White House promising change.
B. Toward the beginning of the book especially, Scheiber fetishizes intelligence, talking about how brilliant or analytical this or that person is.Read more ›
In subsequent chapters Scheiber analyzes the backgrounds the financial team and learn what a "grab-bag character" this team had in terms of their own financial priorities. Through some 200 interviews documented in 30+ pages of notes, Scheiber elaborates on the infighting of the Obama team. While the author's documentation is that of the debates themselves, the picture that emerges is that of a President that was not in control of his own team. Simply stated the tail was wagging the dog.
Scheiber states that this atmosphere was the environment that Obama wanted. The tone is that rather than engaging in the nitty gritty of policy formation, Obama would survey opinions then make a choice.
There are two specific failures that Scheiber assigns to Obama's team. First they failed to request the level of the stimulus that they believed they needed for economic recovery.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Nothing in the book not already known, and it seemed like Scheiber was leaning towards excuses for Obama.Published 18 months ago by Dallas
Great detail and background on the why and the how key players of the Obama administration including the president unsuccessfully pursued economic recovery policies . Read morePublished 20 months ago by Peter Schutt
The complete title How Obama's Team Fumbled the Recovery is now old news, perhaps even forgotten as The President moves into his second term of office. Read morePublished on April 25, 2013 by wsmrer
After seeing many complimentary references to this book, I was disappointed by its poor quality. There are always two sides to every policy difference. Read morePublished on October 24, 2012 by 180 Out
You would normally not think of curling up next to a warm fire on a cool fall night with a book on finance. Read morePublished on October 16, 2012 by Dr. Wilson Trivino
Excellent account as to the failure of the Obama people to encourage a recovery. Names the players and their beliefs which have left us where we are. A manual on what not to do.Published on October 13, 2012 by Stan L Kenyon
Noam Scheiber is a senior editor of the New Republic, and a fellow for the New America Foundation. He wrote in this 2011 book that economic adviser Lawrence Summers' stimulus... Read morePublished on September 24, 2012 by Steven H Propp
Having read plenty of the authors work online in The Nation, I was a little reluctant to spend my time reading his book. But I am glad I did and I recommend it. Read morePublished on August 12, 2012 by Joe Butson
Here's my review of The Escape Artists, which I think does a good job of delving into the personalities of the principals, but seems to fall into the trap of assuming the president... Read morePublished on May 9, 2012 by T. A. Venegas