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July 17, 2011

Sunday Book Thread

Gretchen Morgenson and Joshua Rosner's Reckless Endangerment: How Outsized Ambition, Greed, and Corruption Led to Economic Armageddon has been getting a lot of press in the last week, and deservedly so, so I thought I'd link it again. I recommend it highly to people who have only heard the Democrat version of the 2008 financial crisis -- Morgenson and Rosner do the work Phil Angelides couldn't be bothered to do. There's plenty of blame to go around for the collapse in subprime-mortgage backed securities which led to the financial crisis in 2008, but the way the Angelides report simply ignored the role of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the crisis was just shameful. (It also shows what a snake Barney Frank is, and has been for many years.)

As a change of pace, I decided to brush up on my non-Western history. I've always been interested in the recent history of the Indian subcontinent, so I picked up a couple of books to get me started. The first is Raj: The Making and Unmaking of British India by Lawrence James; the second is The Great Partition: The Making of India and Pakistan by Yasmin Khan. My knowledge of the Raj period in India, and the Partition, is very lacking, and I hope to fill in some gaps with these two books. I also hope to gain some insight on the Pakistani national character, and try to understand what has turned this new country into such a basket-case over its short life.

I've also pre-orderded Vernor Vinge's The Children of the Sky. You've heard me rave multiple times about Vinge's A Fire Upon the Deep as being one of the best sci-fi novels ever written; this is a sequel to that book and is due to be released in October. I'll re-read Fire to prepare for it. This kind of sequel makes me nervous because the original book didn't need a sequel -- it was a splendid and self-contained story. I hope Vinge doesn't do to the Fire Upon the Deep story what Arthur C. Clarke (and other writers) did to the Rama story -- which was to make a wonderful first novel more disappointing in retrospect by trying to explain everything too much in later books. But Vinge is such a splendid novelist, and I am such a fan of his earlier books, that I'll willing to go along with him on this ride.

What's everyone else reading?

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posted by Monty at 09:40 AM

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