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Boomerang: Travels in the New Third World by Michael Lewis
In Boomerang, Michael Lewis follows up his hugely successful book, The Big Short, which chronicled the debt crisis that caused the U.S. economic meltdown. Boomerang looks at the same crisis as it unfolded in Europe. He focuses on four countries: Iceland, Ireland, Greece, and Germany. Icelanders decided almost overnight that they would become bankers, tripling the cost of housing and using those false profits to purchase other unsafe investments. Irish banks were so mismanaged that when they were on the verge of collapse, the government decided to cover all their losses. The Greeks put a large percentage of the population on the public payroll while the citizenry as a whole managed to avoid paying taxes. The Germans didn't overextend their debt obligations, but invested in banks and countries that did, assuming they were playing by the same rules. Michael Lewis's book has received positive reviews with the Christian Science Monitor saying, "What he ended up compiling is a saga of staggering selfishness, greed, and incompetence that somehow manages - because it is Lewis doing the telling - to be every bit as engaging as it is horrifying."