BOOMERANG by Michael Lewis


Travels In the New Third World
Email this review


A world tour of nations that have collapsed financially or that played a role in the collapse of others.

In his previous book, The Big Short (2010), Lewis dug deep into the housing-market failure that precipitated the economic collapse of 2007-08. Here the author tours Iceland, Greece, Ireland, Germany and California to compose a broader picture of what went wrong. Like Lewis’ other bestsellers, this book is alternately wry, snarky, laugh-out-loud humorous, serious and, most importantly, filled with insights. The author is a master at explaining financially complex realms by casting them as narratives of individuals. In each place, he finds people famous, infamous and nearly anonymous who can fairly be rendered as villains or heroes. Each chapter started as an article for Vanity Fair, yet the seemingly disparate features coalesce nicely in the book. Lewis is willing to court danger by generalizing about the characteristics within each nation that led to unexpected consequences. As usual, the author delivers a nice balance of trenchant analysis and lucid writing. In regards to Greece, the most distressed nation of all, "it turned out, what the Greeks wanted to do, once the lights went out and they were alone in the dark with a pile of borrowed money, was turn their government into a piñata stuffed with fantastic sums and give as many citizens as possible a whack at it."

An enlightening, scary journey.

Pub Date: Oct. 3rd, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-393-08181-7
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Norton
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2011


NonfictionTHE UNDOING PROJECT by Michael Lewis
by Michael Lewis
NonfictionFLASH BOYS by Michael Lewis
by Michael Lewis


NonfictionAROUND THE WORLD IN 50 YEARS by Albert Podell
by Albert Podell
NonfictionLOVE AND OTHER WAYS OF DYING by Michael Paterniti
by Michael Paterniti
Nonfiction13 BANKERS by Simon Johnson
by Simon Johnson