Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World

Michael Lewis, Author
Michael Lewis. Norton, $25.95 (224p) ISBN 978-0-393-08181-7
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011
Release date: 10/01/2011
Hardcover - 271 pages - 978-1-61173-252-8
Open Ebook - 224 pages - 978-0-393-08224-1
Paperback - 288 pages - 978-89-91204-98-0
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-4640-2176-3
Paperback - 240 pages
Hardcover - 978-0-393-34448-6
Hardcover - 978-1-84614-588-9
Compact Disc - 6 pages - 978-1-4423-4125-8
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Essentially an offbeat travelogue, Lewis's latest examines the recent global financial crisis by visiting the locales that have faltered beyond reasonable expectation. Though journalistic, there is a distinctly anthropological approach to vivid depictions of how particular cultural values contributed to such a bizarre, devastating series of events. In his dynamic narrative, Lewis simplifies complex financial systems without condescension, applies a degree of rationality to absurd decisions, and presents key individuals' profiles without denigration. Dark, deadpan humor is injected throughout: Iceland as a nation of fishermen-cum-hedge fund managers with "no idea what they were doing”; Greece's "fantastic mess” of scandalous monasteries, tax-evasion and top-down corruption; Ireland's busted banks and stratospheric losses debilitating a now "distinctly third world” country. Germany is singled-out for its "preternatural love of rules” and naiveté regarding the so-called "riskless asset” while California tops the list of "America's scariest financial places” following their ratings downgrade and piling debts. Easily devoured in one sitting, Lewis (Moneyball) manages to gracefully explain what happened with a unique regard for both the strengths and weaknesses of humankind. (Oct.)
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