Both neophytes and experts will find something provocative and rewarding in this unfailingly interesting treatment.

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A RABBLE OF DEAD MONEY

THE GREAT CRASH AND THE GLOBAL DEPRESSION: 1929–1939

Morris (Comeback: America’s New Economic Boom, 2013, etc.) revisits history’s greatest economic meltdown.

The phenomenon of the Great Depression is too vast and complex for a single book to capture entirely. Where to begin? How about with Morris, if only because he does such an efficient job laying the groundwork for an understanding of the economic disaster. Clearly familiar with the library of “Depression studies,” the author, a lawyer and former banker, makes good use of the historians and economists who’ve gone before. He begins by tracing the roots of the Depression to World War I, the devastation that accounted for the desperate efforts of the United States, Britain, France, and Germany to fashion a new, acceptable order in the wake of massive loss. Focusing on the U.S. but keeping an eye on the European scene, Morris writes smoothly and moves at a breakneck pace, packing the narrative with quick profiles of auto titans, utilities giants, and international businessmen and entrepreneurs and drilling down on the economic maneuverings by political figures like Herbert Hoover, Franklin Roosevelt, and Winston Churchill. To bolster his economic arguments, Morris enlists the likes of Galbraith, Keynes, Eichengreen, and others. He’s especially good assessing the transformative effects of the new automobile and AC electric industries on American life, examining the poison pill that was the Treaty of Versailles, highlighting the attacks on the New Deal, and mapping the changes wrought by mass communications and the development of “America’s unique consumer-oriented economy.” Readers will prize the author’s discussion of Britain’s resumption of the gold standard, his stout defense of William Jennings Bryan, and his dismissal of the “banking crisis” as little more than a minor contributor to the Depression. Also likely to raise some eyebrows: the author’s insistence that the Depression was well over before World War II began and that, notwithstanding the New Deal’s ups and downs, Roosevelt himself helped make recovery possible.

Both neophytes and experts will find something provocative and rewarding in this unfailingly interesting treatment.

Pub Date: March 7, 2017

ISBN: 978-1-61039-534-2

Page Count: 416

Publisher: PublicAffairs

Review Posted Online: Dec. 19, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1, 2017

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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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Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our...

THINKING, FAST AND SLOW

A psychologist and Nobel Prize winner summarizes and synthesizes the recent decades of research on intuition and systematic thinking.

The author of several scholarly texts, Kahneman (Emeritus Psychology and Public Affairs/Princeton Univ.) now offers general readers not just the findings of psychological research but also a better understanding of how research questions arise and how scholars systematically frame and answer them. He begins with the distinction between System 1 and System 2 mental operations, the former referring to quick, automatic thought, the latter to more effortful, overt thinking. We rely heavily, writes, on System 1, resorting to the higher-energy System 2 only when we need or want to. Kahneman continually refers to System 2 as “lazy”: We don’t want to think rigorously about something. The author then explores the nuances of our two-system minds, showing how they perform in various situations. Psychological experiments have repeatedly revealed that our intuitions are generally wrong, that our assessments are based on biases and that our System 1 hates doubt and despises ambiguity. Kahneman largely avoids jargon; when he does use some (“heuristics,” for example), he argues that such terms really ought to join our everyday vocabulary. He reviews many fundamental concepts in psychology and statistics (regression to the mean, the narrative fallacy, the optimistic bias), showing how they relate to his overall concerns about how we think and why we make the decisions that we do. Some of the later chapters (dealing with risk-taking and statistics and probabilities) are denser than others (some readers may resent such demands on System 2!), but the passages that deal with the economic and political implications of the research are gripping.

Striking research showing the immense complexity of ordinary thought and revealing the identities of the gatekeepers in our minds.

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 2011

ISBN: 978-0-374-27563-1

Page Count: 512

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: Sept. 4, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 2011

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