A maddening, important indictment of the shadow economy that flourishes even as the legitimate economy suffers and just the...

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THE PANAMA PAPERS

BREAKING THE STORY OF HOW THE RICH AND POWERFUL HIDE THEIR MONEY

Hiding money in offshore accounts to keep it from the publicans is an old trick—but it is now so prevalent that, far from being “a minor part of our economic system,” it is the system.

The saga of the so-called Panama Papers, so much in the recent news, begins with the anonymous leaking of secret documents to Süddeutsche Zeitung journalist Obermayer. The leak became a flood that, writes Luke Harding, of Edward Snowden fame, in his foreword, “eventually amounted to 11.5 million documents, delivered in real-time installments,” a trove far larger than the Snowden files. These records pertained to 214,000 offshore shell companies whose businesses were filtered through a Panamanian law firm, but that the flood came pouring down on German journalists spoke to the fact that the principal was a German émigré who may now be on the hook for violations of European Union regulations as a German citizen. (The legal case has only begun to unfold.) Yet Mossack Fonseca’s clients, the beneficiaries of various schemes to keep taxable income under wraps, are breathtakingly international: they include the father of Britain’s prime minister, much of Iceland’s government, Nicaragua’s president, and even the “best footballer in the world,” to say nothing of “trails leading to FIFA and its president…various mafia organizations, Hezbollah, Al-Qaeda…and to Vladimir Putin.” Throw in numerous multinational corporations “like Amazon, Starbucks, and Apple,” and you have splendid testimony to Karl Marx’s observation that capital has no country and that capitalists are loyal only unto themselves and their shareholders. In surveying these many trails, the authors expose a shockingly corrupt system but not without offering twofold remedies, one of which is to mandate “an effective system for the automatic global exchange of information about bank accounts.”

A maddening, important indictment of the shadow economy that flourishes even as the legitimate economy suffers and just the thing to tip a person debating whether to join the Occupy movement or vote for Bernie Sanders over the edge.

Pub Date: June 30, 2016

ISBN: 978-1-78607-047-0

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Oneworld Publications

Review Posted Online: June 28, 2016

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

THE LIBRARY BOOK

An engaging, casual history of librarians and libraries and a famous one that burned down.

In her latest, New Yorker staff writer Orlean (Rin Tin Tin: The Life and the Legend, 2011, etc.) seeks to “tell about a place I love that doesn’t belong to me but feels like it is mine.” It’s the story of the Los Angeles Public Library, poet Charles Bukowski’s “wondrous place,” and what happened to it on April 29, 1986: It burned down. The fire raged “for more than seven hours and reached temperatures of 2000 degrees…more than one million books were burned or damaged.” Though nobody was killed, 22 people were injured, and it took more than 3 million gallons of water to put it out. One of the firefighters on the scene said, “We thought we were looking at the bowels of hell….It was surreal.” Besides telling the story of the historic library and its destruction, the author recounts the intense arson investigation and provides an in-depth biography of the troubled young man who was arrested for starting it, actor Harry Peak. Orlean reminds us that library fires have been around since the Library of Alexandria; during World War II, “the Nazis alone destroyed an estimated hundred million books.” She continues, “destroying a culture’s books is sentencing it to something worse than death: It is sentencing it to seem as if it never happened.” The author also examines the library’s important role in the city since 1872 and the construction of the historic Goodhue Building in 1926. Orlean visited the current library and talked to many of the librarians, learning about their jobs and responsibilities, how libraries were a “solace in the Depression,” and the ongoing problems librarians face dealing with the homeless. The author speculates about Peak’s guilt but remains “confounded.” Maybe it was just an accident after all.

Bibliophiles will love this fact-filled, bookish journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 16, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4767-4018-8

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: July 2, 2018

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 2018

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