Books

Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour

Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour

Review by Jennifer Byrn

Boomerang: The Meltdown Tour, by Michael Lewis, Allen Lane; $39.95

Michael Lewis is the master of making financial journalism accessible. And — perhaps his best trick — funny as well.

This tragi-comic romp through European’s current economic disaster is a worthy successor to past hits such as Liar’s Poker and Moneyball, reducing the complexity of Europe’s debt disaster to a shrewd, biting analysis of the kind of people — the kind of countries — that would manifest such idiotic folly.

It’s full of mean, merciless but wildly enjoyable generalisations as to national character — the greedy, slothful, tax-shirking Greeks; the stolid Germans, obsessed with cleanliness and order yet harbouring “a secret fascination with filth and chaos”; and of course the Irish, who to the end thought that a ramshackle house built in the middle of a peat bog would — might — yield sound returns.

Though my favourite remain the Icelanders, who after centuries as successful and prosperous fishermen, became convinced overnight that they were born to be hedge fund managers.

Lewis gives us juicy details of what was clearly a great party, what went wrong, and who’s to blame for the hangover. A book to make you laugh until you cry.

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