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Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour [Hardcover]

Michael Lewis
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2011

Having made the U.S. financial crisis comprehensible for us all in The Big Short, Michael Lewis realised that he hadn't begun to get grips with the full story. How exactly had it come to hit the rest of the world in the face too? Just how broke are we really?

Boomerang is a tragi-comic romp across Europe, in which Lewis gives full vent to his storytelling genius. The cheap credit that rolled across the planet between 2002 and 2008 was more than a simple financial phenomenon: it was temptation, offering entire societies the chance to reveal aspects of their characters they could not normally afford to indulge.

Icelanders wanted to stop fishing and become investment bankers. The Greeks wanted to turn their country into a piñata stuffed with cash and allow as many citizens as possible to take a whack. The Irish wanted to stop being Irish. The Germans wanted to be even more German. Michael Lewis's investigation of bubbles across Europe is brilliantly, sadly hilarious. He also turns a merciless eye on America: on California, the epicentre of world consumption, where we see that a final reckoning awaits the most avaricious of nations too.

This is the ultimate book of our times. It's time to brace ourselves for impact. And, with Michael Lewis, to laugh out loud while we're doing it.



Product details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Allen Lane (6 Oct 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846144841
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846144844
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 57,438 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Michael Lewis was born in New Orleans and educated at Princeton University and the London School of Economics. He has written several books including the New York Times bestseller, Liar's Poker, widely considered the book that defined Wall Street during the 1980s. Lewis is contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and also writes for Vanity Fair and Portfolio magazine. He is married with three children.

Product Description

Review

Fascinating...the book could not be more timely...a sharp-edged narrative that leaves readers with a visceral understanding of the fiscal recklessness that lies behind today's headlines (Michiko Kakutani New York Times )

Michael Lewis's bravura journey through Europe's economic underbelly brilliantly charts the consequences of a world plagued by debt...highly enjoyable...nicely politically incorrect, often very funny, and shot through with genuine insight (Robert Harris Sunday Times )

Brilliant ... he has a novelist's gift (Spectator, Books of the Year )

Lewis' investigation of bubbles across Europe is brilliantly, sadly hiliarious (GQ magazine )

He writes with the wit and observational eye of a travel writer (Richard Fitzpatrick Irish Examiner )

He writes quite brilliantly and understands the complex financial matters whereof he speaks. As polemical prose goes, it is hard to beat (Howard Davies Management Today )

Lewis is the finest storyteller of our generation (Malcolm Gladwell )

He is so good everyone else may as well pack up (Evening Standard )

Michael Lewis meets some extraordinary characters in his excursion through the barely controlled madness that is modern finance ... lucid, entertaining (Tony Barber Financial Times )

About the Author

Michael Lewis, the best-selling author of Liar's Poker, The Money Culture, The New New Thing, Moneyball, The Blind Side, Panic, Home Game, The Big Short, and Boomerang, among other works, lives in Berkeley, California, with his wife, Tabitha Soren, and their three children.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
44 of 47 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As sharp as always...just left me wanting more. 12 Oct 2011
By James
Format:Hardcover
Michael Lewis has written another highly readable account of the incredible mess we have made of global finance this time turning his attention away from the US towards Europe.

Like many people who study the causes and consequences of the current financial crisis there is the constant question gnawing away as to why some countries acted in the way they did and why others didn't. The real pleasure in this book is looking deep into the character of a number of the most affected nations (Iceland, Ireland, Greece, Germany and the US) in order to better understand how they ended up in their resepctive situations. In doing so, he pens very revealing portraits of long held national characteristics that helped me build a picture of how and why these countries ended up where they are now. As with 'The Big Short' it is one of his great skills to take a particular incident or story and to sensibly extrapolate it for a wider meaning. There are no shortage of them here and each is used to great effect.

If I have a small criticism of the book it is that it feels a little slight for such a sweeping subject. At around 200 broadly spaced pages the book can be rattled through in a couple of hours and does leave the reader feeling there's more to be said on this subject.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Waiting for the next shoe to drop 23 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover
Another fascinating book from Michael Lewis. A scary prognosis of the future which seems to be unfolding even as we read the financial press day by day. Excellent chapters on Iceland, Greece, Ireland and the US which would be highly amusing if it were not all so serious!! I think Michael gets a bit sidetracked in the chapter on Germany which is a pity. I believe his conclusion however that we have all gotten used to living "too high off the hog" is spot on and does not bode well for the West. We are all going to have to follow the example given of the Californian fire chief if we are ever to get out of this hole we are in.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Fans of the author will enjoy it 22 Oct 2011
Format:Hardcover
The authors breezy anecdotal style makes for easy reading and this book provides an entertaining overview (of sorts) of notable recently crippled economies. However, it suffers from a "aren't Europeans strange?" slant that will probably grate with European readers and the level of insight is no more than superficial. The chapter dealing with the Germans is just bizarre in places although it does provide an accessible explanation of what went wrong in some German banks (which could probably be explained in less than 2 pages anyway).

The subject matter is a little scary and has implications for all of us so this is probably a good book for non finance people to read to gain some idea of what's been going on while being entertained at the same time. In summary, if you like the authors other books or would like a light overview of why all these fringe economies are in the news so much then you may enjoy this book.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Seriously fun 12 Oct 2011
By Jippu
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
First the critical point: this is clearly a rewrite of previous articles and to make a very short book longer, Lewis has inserted a part on the US local government which is interesting, but especially the last chapter is pretty irrelevant for the main argument.
And then the positive part: this is really a good and useful book about the financial meltdown in Iceland and Ireland and its European connections. Greece is perhaps too specific, mainly about one case of corruption which tells how far Greece really is from ordinary developed European countries (the main example is a monastery which succeeded in changing a worthless property into extremely profitable land with the help of combined superstition and very high level corruption). But in both Iceland and Ireland, Lewis is very thorough in showing how incompetent and purely amateurish the financial system was an how in both cases the limitless giving of easy credit to people who did not understand anything of real economic activities. Perhaps the most devastating is how the German local banks let themselves to be deceived by Wall Street so that one German banks was the sole buyer of already totally worthless papers emanating from the Wall Street. And these banker were not even motivated by greed and enormous remunerations, only by trust and ignorance. In the final analysis, never trust something which has grown consistently over average for several years. It is a bubble, and bubbles burst. For those who lose their livelihoods, it is not fun, but for those reading about it, Lewis gives quite a lot to laugh about.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A riveting read 22 Nov 2011
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is an intensely riveting read and everybody should read it.

It tells of monumental greed, arrogance and crass stupidity: beware of arrogant men; men who to a tee when told that the seeming riches that they had created were not sustainable sought to `kill' the messenger; men whose morals and ethical code exist only in the subterranean world. This book will make you angry, angry that so many, literally billions of people, have to suffer because of the greed, arrogance and crass stupidity of so few.

It will also make you sad and dismayed that the human civilisation, (I use that word advisedly) has reached this zenith of undisguised greed and lack of control. We have been fed for too long the mantra of you can have what you want, and if you have not got the latest this, that or the other, then there is something wrong with you and you are a lesser person, although Lewis at no point gives this level of analysis.

We learn that it all began in America in Wall Street, which created the scenario of millions of Americans and western countries being given a pile of money in the dark, as the author puts it. Lewis tells us in an amusing and easy to understand way what Iceland, Greece and Ireland did with their pile of cash and the consequences of their actions. Germany's role in all of this, its enabling role, is laid bare. Whilst Germany has been the chief bailer outer, it would not have found this necessary if it had not acted with so little forethought in purchasing such risky bonds. The Germans, we are told, were so naive that they thought the bonds they were buying from Wall Street were zero risk, completely forgetting that there is no such thing as a riskless asset!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Do not buy it!
His descriptions are short, they lack of arguments, he uses many stereotypes especially regarding Greece, he does not take in account other important factors like spending in... Read more
Published 8 hours ago by Nikolaos B
5.0 out of 5 stars keeps up to his high standards
just buy it. It's an entertaining journey he goes on but doesn't fail to deliver the deeper story behind the scenes.
Published 15 days ago by Eoin Whyte
4.0 out of 5 stars Some good jokes at the expense of profligate Europeans
This is obviously a cut and paste job cashing in on the success of the Big Short. It's just a collection of previously published articles, including one on America's debt problems,... Read more
Published 2 months ago by William Cohen
5.0 out of 5 stars Very funny and engagingly written
This is the first one of Michael Lewis's books that I read and I am now working my way through his back catalogue. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Peter Skelton
5.0 out of 5 stars Really enjoyable overview of the financial collapse - a must read
The style of writing made the book really enjoyable. It really made me laugh and gasp with the factual account of the terrible mis-management of public sector finances. Read more
Published 3 months ago by riley36
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book
What a great book. It's gave me a good understanding of the 2008 crash, without too much economic jargon which would have been difficult for me to understand as this is not my... Read more
Published 3 months ago by A. P. In Reading U.K.
4.0 out of 5 stars We never learn from history
I found the book very interesting and gave a good insight into the financial collapse. We never seem to learn from past events and always believe we should get something for... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Spottydog
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable & Informative read
One of the better financial books I have read this year. Lewis is insightful, entertaining and manages to combine different narratives seamlessly from one chapter to the next. Read more
Published 4 months ago by ForeverUTD
1.0 out of 5 stars Seems a bit mean spirited
I really enjoyed the big short. While reading it, I got the impression that Michael Lewis really understood the American Financial system and was able to clearly describe what a... Read more
Published 4 months ago by JohnB
3.0 out of 5 stars old problems decribed - but did we learn?
The book is okay and you should read it if you really have the time.
I am half way into the book and plan to finish it slowly putting other books upper in the queue
I... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Sebastian Ivan
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