A cogently argued account that lays bare the similarities and differences between the world today and earlier theoretical...

AN EXTRAORDINARY TIME

THE END OF THE POSTWAR BOOM AND THE RETURN OF THE ORDINARY ECONOMY

An economic historian challenges both politicians and economists in this account of why the post–World War II economic boom came to an end and what followed.

Former Economist finance and economics editor Levinson (The Great A&P and the Struggle for Small Business in America, 2011, etc.) argues that 1973 was when the world changed course. Then, he writes, “average income per person around the world leaped 4.5 percent. At that rate, a person’s income would double in sixteen years….Average people had reason to feel good. And then the good times were over.” The author considers various causes—e.g., the first oil shock, when OPEC, following Saudi Arabia’s lead, hiked its prices by 400 percent, and foreign exchange volatility, which preceded President Richard Nixon’s decision to take the dollar off gold in August 1971. Levinson also considers the ineptitude of both politicians and economists as major contributors to the crisis. Neither “had any idea what was causing the ailment. They acted because they were under pressure to act, not because they had confidence in their prescriptions.” This view is absolutely worth heeding in these days of unprecedented worldwide financial experimentation. Levinson contends that beginning with Arthur Burns, the chair of the Federal Reserve from 1970 to 1978, efforts to control inflation proceeded from doctrinal bases that only a few years later would be considered “bizarre.” The author shows the ending of a world in which government action was thought to be capable of providing competent direction to economic processes. He associates that world with two thinkers: Argentinian Raúl Prebisch and German Karl Schiller. Prebisch advocated import substitution as a pathway to development for developing economies, while Schiller was a master planner. Free-market advocates Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan changed that bygone world, but in Thatcher’s case, Britain didn’t achieve growth comparable to the times before the 1970s.

A cogently argued account that lays bare the similarities and differences between the world today and earlier theoretical shortcomings.

Pub Date: Nov. 8, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-465-06198-3

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: Sept. 8, 2016

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 15, 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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However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

I KNOW WHY THE CAGED BIRD SINGS

Maya Angelou is a natural writer with an inordinate sense of life and she has written an exceptional autobiographical narrative which retrieves her first sixteen years from "the general darkness just beyond the great blinkers of childhood."

Her story is told in scenes, ineluctably moving scenes, from the time when she and her brother were sent by her fancy living parents to Stamps, Arkansas, and a grandmother who had the local Store. Displaced they were and "If growing up is painful for the Southern Black girl, being aware of her displacement is the rust on the razor that threatens the throat." But alternating with all the pain and terror (her rape at the age of eight when in St. Louis With her mother) and humiliation (a brief spell in the kitchen of a white woman who refused to remember her name) and fear (of a lynching—and the time they buried afflicted Uncle Willie under a blanket of vegetables) as well as all the unanswered and unanswerable questions, there are affirmative memories and moments: her charming brother Bailey; her own "unshakable God"; a revival meeting in a tent; her 8th grade graduation; and at the end, when she's sixteen, the birth of a baby. Times When as she says "It seemed that the peace of a day's ending was an assurance that the covenant God made with children, Negroes and the crippled was still in effect."

However charily one should apply the word, a beautiful book, an unconditionally involving memoir for our time or any time.

Pub Date: Feb. 1, 1969

ISBN: 0375507892

Page Count: 235

Publisher: Random House

Review Posted Online: May 14, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1969

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