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Due to length and mediocrity, might suggest skipping
on July 9, 2012
I would liken this book to more of a character drama than an earnest attempt at documenting the financial crisis (Sorkin is no Roger Lowenstein). Far too many pages of often cliched dialog detailing all of the main characters' personal rivalries and heuristics. In the hands of a more competent fiction writer, this book may have been more enjoyable; given Sorkin's background as a reporter, his attempts to dramatize the scenes often come across as predictable and shallow.
One notable aspect appears to be Sorkin's access for interviews, though based on the bibliography (which is extensive but relatively skimpy when you consider how much supposedly direct dialogue he is quoting) I wonder how much artistic liberty the author took in shaping his own characters, as if he were some kind of hybrid John Grisham-reporter extraordinaire.
This book could have been shortened by at least 250 pages. We also didn't need Sorkin's grandstanding at the end of the book, when his thinly veiled championing of his own personal politics comes into full bloom and his audience is subjected to a half-baked, condescending lecture. Prior to this, the politicization was tempered enough that I didn't feel the need to put the book down (a la anything by Michael Lewis), but Sorkin's preference for big-government cowboys and his admiration of President Obama are made clear to all but the most dense reader.
If Too Big to Fail were shorter than 550 pages, I could recommend it to someone looking to just getting an understanding of who all of the CEO and government actors were; however, given the length and torpidity, I might suggest for someone short on time and long on books to just do a Google search and read a few articles instead.