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Ila France Porcher, author of My Sunset Rendezvous "Ila France Porcher, Author of My Sunset Rendezvous" (France)

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Diatribe: A Scathing Journey Into the Heart of the Financial & Banking Corporate Culture (and Related Digressions)
Diatribe: A Scathing Journey Into the Heart of the Financial & Banking Corporate Culture (and Related Digressions)
by Amer Chaudri
Edition: Paperback
Price: 12.28

5.0 out of 5 stars A Banker's Revelations on the Economic Crisis, 10 Jan 2011
Diatribe : A scathing journey into the heart of the Financial & Banking corporate culture (and related digressions), by Amer Chaudri, provides a unique and startling look at how banking is carried out in the modern world. It is the only "Main Street" account of the evolution of banking practises over the past decade and the events that carried them on.

Mr. Chaudri worked as a Branch Manager, Sr. Financial Analyst, Regional Finance Manager, and in Treasury, Finance and Consumer Banking in bank branches from Lahore, in Pakistan, to Dubai, in the Middle East, to Wall Street, New York, and finally to California. His clear eyed descriptions of international banking and the many ways that the structure of the financial world lost its strength are vivid in detail and insight. The nature of corporate culture and decision making, the changing nature of the marketplace--a complex and multifaceted system, with its countless levels and instruments--are all brought to life in this masterful work.

Mr. Chaudri begins with a philosophical commentary on financial markets, triggered by a comment heard, when, just out of university, he worked with the veterans of the "Dealing War-room" where billions of dollars were traded in one of Citibank's Treasury Departments.

This philosophical analysis is woven subtley throughout his account of global financial events and the facts behind them that affected his career. His thought provoking way of sharing the reality he experienced, in a very human and often humourous or ironic fashion, make "Diatribe" more than an account of unexpected and little known facts about banking. It transforms it into an illuminating work that stays with the reader after the book is put down.

I strongly reccomend it to anyone wondering what has happened to modern banking and why it is failing us. "Diatribe" provides an important counterpoint to the stories of Wall Street follies. In effect, it provides many of the missing pieces in the puzzle.


Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century
Gods of Money: Wall Street and the Death of the American Century
by F. William Engdahl
Edition: Paperback
Price: 17.16

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars To Understand what Happened to the Economy, Read This!, 7 Dec 2010
Gods of Money--Wall Street and the Death of the American Century is an admirably researched work which describes the activities of the international bankers and financiers over the past century.

While his earlier book, A Century of War, focused on how power was gained through the control of oil, this one presents the effort to control gold, then the money supply, and how paper money evolved into ever more complex financial products.

The importance of wars in enriching the financial sector and destroying other nations developing potential strength, and how money has flowed around the globe with the different events of history are described in a way that is clear and easy to understand. How extraordinary riches have been made by using debt as a commodity, and manipulating interest rates, are made understandable in this extraordinary work.

Finally, the way the financial sector, now centred in five Wall Street banks, became so bloated that it had the power to topple the economy of the world and had to be saved by the tax payers of America is revealed.

This is a truly epic work which should be read by all, in the interests of self protection as well as knowledge.


Too Big to Fail: Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street
Too Big to Fail: Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street
by Andrew Ross Sorkin
Edition: Paperback
Price: 9.09

5.0 out of 5 stars A Matchless Account of the Great Financial Crisis, 7 Dec 2010
Inside the Battle to Save Wall Street--Too Big to Fail--is a riveting account of the events leading to the financial crisis of September, 2008 in which the greatest international finance companies in the world teetered on the brink of bankruptcy.

Told with a humanity that makes the affairs of the powerful men and women involved understandable, the story provides a blow by blow description of exactly what happened on Wall Street when suddenly trillions of dollars began evaporating into thin air, and threatened the entire system of interconnected world finance.

Andrew Ross Sorkin skillfully takes the reader into the meetings and conferences in The Federal Reserve and the great institutions of Wall Street to witness the struggle to find a way to solve a crisis that threatened to topple the global financial structure.

He has organized the chaos of uncertainty and panic that reigned, twenty four hours a day during this period, into a well told story that is truly difficult to put down.

We all hope that this incredible affair will have taught the powers that be a lesson that will guide them, not only to prevent the same thing from happening all over again, but that they will correct the grave errors that precipitated the crisis in the first place.

The rest of us ordinary mortals hope to be able to go on enjoying our ordinary lives.


A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
A Century of War: Anglo-American Oil Politics and the New World Order
by William Engdahl
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars The Hidden History Behind the Rise of Power, 7 Dec 2010
"A Century of War" defines the centres of power behind the events that have shaped modern civilization. It gives their perspective and methods of expanding that power by subtly manipulating international events to their benefit.

The history begins with the description of the well known policy of England since ancient times to manipulate the countries of Europe, so that conflict would prevail there. Thus the island nation was left in peace to dominate the seaways, and loot the raw materials of the world.

This remarkable book goes on to describe in detail how the same policy was adopted by the United States in harmony with England, as the two super powers used surprising and subtle methods to gain control of the riches of other nations, particularly the world oil supply. When the victim nation tried to take control of its own natural resources it was often plunged into financial depression or mired in war or political upheavals. Always it was to the benefit of the two superpowers.

In thrall to this international game, they invested their huge financial gains internationally rather than in their own industries, infrastructures, and technological development, thus weakening their own true wealth.

The traditional view of history is completely overthrown by this piercing account, which reveals that behind the historical scenes were puppet masters, manipulating every movement of the play. For example, the second world war is normally blamed entirely on Hitler, but once one knows that he was helped to power by England to destroy not only Europe, but Germany and Russia, one can no longer view the Second World War in quite the same way.

This book is a must read in the effort to understand the story of how we got to where we are today, who the powers really are who are determining our futures, and what motivates them.


The Journal of an Unknown Knight
The Journal of an Unknown Knight
by Jose Alejandrino
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 16.58

5.0 out of 5 stars An Epic Journey by a True Knight, 23 Aug 2010
"The Journal of an Unknown Knight" is Jose Alejandrino's story of his life, focusing on his extraordinary career. Beginning in earliest childhood, he describes his unusual and dramatic experiences in meticulous detail.

He grew up as the son of a diplomat, and so the people he knew were politicians, with their friends and families. His accounts of this environment are surprising and often funny. He gained valuable experience in different countries, always rubbing shoulders with the most influencial politicians and their entourages. He worked in UNESCO, where he learned, among other things, the ins and outs of International Finance, and then returned to his native land, the Philippines, to help re-establish peace and democracy when President Ferdinand Marco's policies led to severe trouble.

The description of how he handled the situation there reveals him to be a very astute diplomat. He worked behind the scenes in a variety of roles, including as a journalist, influencing important people and events. Thus he was a powerful force in keeping the Philippines evolving in a postitive direction through the election of Cory Aquino, her presidency, and then the presidency of Fidel Valdez Ramos.

The story of how he left, due to his refusal to sacrifice his high moral standards, is a startling tale of contorted financial, religious, and political dealings. Alejandrino ends the book with a thought provoking commentary on life in general in a troubled world.

This book will doubtless go down in history as one of the most detailed and important accounts of Philippine history during the period he describes.

For everyone interested in the Philippines, and America's foreign affairs with the country, it is a must read.


Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon
Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon
by Sara Howard
Edition: Paperback

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Kaleidoscope of Information about the Apollo Program, 16 July 2010
"Something Funny Happened on the Way to the Moon" is a kaleidoscope of facts and information about the behind the scenes Apollo Program. It describes how 400,000 people worked on this phenomenal initiative to put astronauts on the moon, using old technology to accomplish something that is impossible today. It was a work of love by these brilliant people, all experts in their speciality, to keep the astronauts safe, as they worked to achieve this science fiction goal for their country.

Author Sara Howard, was one of only two women employed as engineers of the Apollo Program. She describes amusing anecdotes, such as water fights among the staff, and alternates them with the daunting facts about the project'the companies, buildings, people, technologies, divisions, and of course, the rockets, with which she fell in love as a child. Included, to help the reader grasp the enormity of the project, are photographs by NASA.

As Howard notes, the story she enthusiastically presents, and the people involved, were skipped over and forgotten in the hype over the fantastic success of this project for America. Its time to remember who's work was responsible, and consider what it must have been like for those countless workers at that time'as they dreamed of putting men safely on the moon, and patiently worked towards fulfilment.

To consider them and grant them due appreciation. Read the book! Its fascinating!


Under the Dome
Under the Dome
by Stephen King
Edition: Hardcover

4.0 out of 5 stars An Anti Climax, 16 July 2010
This review is from: Under the Dome (Hardcover)
While "Under the Dome" is an enjoyable novel, I would not compare it with "The Stand" as is advertised on the cover. Given who the writer is, I was disappointed after reading this claim. There are many characters, but none as spectacular as most of the characters of that earlier work, nor those in many of his other celebrated books. Nor did the story feel (to me) as passionate, or full of promise, as the epic situations that unfolded with the super-characters of his other works.

"Under the Dome" is an examination of what happens when a town is physically cut off from the rest of the world, though it retains telephone and Internet services. Thus the theme is roughly like "The Lord of the Flies," in the setting of the modern American culture.

Of course, any work by Stephen King is enjoyable. I just don't feel that it is one of his greater works. It seemed that where something spectacular was about to unfold, the situation fizzled out. I got tired of the characters having names that ended in "ie" or "y" and hugging, etc. I was waiting for something to happen.

Maybe that is the point of the story, that small-town American life is the boring product of "dim bulbs" and unethical, egotistical schemers, though that is difficult to understand, coming from this author.

Like many new books being released at this time, and not just in America, this one, too, reflects a loss of public faith in the government.


And Rainedrops Fall Down My Cheeks
And Rainedrops Fall Down My Cheeks
by Raine
Edition: Hardcover
Price: 2.10

5.0 out of 5 stars The Story of a Woman with the Second Sight, 16 July 2010
"And Rainedrops Fall Down my Cheeks" is an extraordinary account of the experiences of a woman with the second sight. Her story reveals a world invisible to the rest of us, which I have yet to see documented with such openness and honesty.

Her sincerity toward her reader as she describes her growing understanding of her gift through trials, tribulations, insights, and revelations shines through, as does the transcendant love that she radiates to those around her, and through her book.

Her experiences, and those of people like her, deserve serious consideration, since they are part of the reality in which we all live. No world view that excludes them can be considered complete.


Small Ceremonies
Small Ceremonies
by Carol Shields
Edition: Paperback
Price: 6.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Unusual Look at Life, 8 Jun 2010
This review is from: Small Ceremonies (Paperback)
Pulitzer Prize winning Carol Shields presents another haunting personal reality in "Small Ceremonies."

Her protagonist's train-of-consciousness reflections about her experiences are written in the first person and present tense, and bring this amusing character into sharp focus as she copes with her eccentric husband, her family and her career.

The result is a thought provoking read to which all of us can relate, for these 'small ceremonies' enter into our lives too, and all of us have our own way to consider them.

It is the unusual way that daily life is presented, and the clever commentary upon them, that is so delightful in Small Ceremonies, and makes it such a pleasure to read.


The Road from Coorain (Vintage Departures)
The Road from Coorain (Vintage Departures)
by Jill Ker Conway
Edition: Paperback

5.0 out of 5 stars A Window on Another Life, 8 Jun 2010
This autobiographical account of the experiences of a girl growing up in New South Wales, Australia, is a must-read if you like unusual human stories, perceptive observations on human experience, and excellent writing.

The author's clairvoyant insights into the psychological effects on her family, as farmers suffering a long term struggle with the elements, are exceptional. They extend too, to the biases of the evolving Australian society, the true nature of the land and how it was used, and Australia's relationship with England and the countries surrounding the Australian continent.

The intricately interwoven view of life, the human struggle, and society found in "The Road From Coorain" is unique and quite extraordinary.


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