Ship of Fools: How Stupidity and Corruption Sank the Celtic Tiger

Fintan O'Toole, Author . Public Affairs $25.95 (230p) ISBN 978-1-58648-881-9

A fascinating and deeply shocking account of the recent financial collapse of Ireland’s economy. Writing in stridently polemical tones, prominent Irish journalist O’Toole (White Savage ) blends strong reportage with perceptive cultural analysis to produce a disturbing account of how politicians, property developers, and business elite, through a mixture of corruption, feckless deregulation, and plain incompetence, reaped enormous financial gain at a cost of billions to the Irish taxpayer. Tracing Ireland’s indulgent attitude toward political corruption and sleaze from the 1970s to the present, the author outlines various financial scandals, including institutionalized tax evasion and the role of unscrupulous and unethical businessmen in the creation of an unsustainable property bubble, the bursting of which has inflicted serious damage on the economy. Occasionally, the author’s rhetorical excesses irritate, and the book’s focus on analysis rather than any chronological development of events may leave some readers confused. The book’s conclusions are highly provocative, however, such as the remarkable suggestion that Catholic Ireland’s obsession with the body as the locus of sin hindered the development of any genuine sense of social morality. An absorbing indictment of unregulated, free-market capitalism. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 01/25/2010
Release date: 03/01/2010
Paperback - 300 pages - 978-1-4587-5859-0
Paperback - 229 pages - 978-0-571-25268-8
Open Ebook - 978-0-571-25872-7
Open Ebook - 240 pages - 978-1-58648-882-6
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