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Prophets of Doom

Delving into the darker side of Wall Street, oil, and conservatism.

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Ehrenreich may be right that our nation is filled with Panglossian types. But the authors of these books are probably not among them.

Too Big to Fail
By Andrew Ross Sorkin (Viking, Oct. 20)
There is no shortage of new and forthcoming books detailing the Lehman Brothers crisis that brought down Wall Street, but Sorkin’s page-turning account widens the aperture to show the global impact, taking us from D.C. to closed-door meetings in South Korea and Russia.

Crude World
By Peter Maass (Knopf, Sept. 22)
The New York Times Magazine contributor rolls up his sleeves to unearth layers and layers of dirt on the increasingly corrupt and violent international oil industry—from Saudi Arabia to Venezuela, Russia to Nigeria.

We Are Doomed
By John Derbyshire (Crown Forum, Sept. 29)
Good news for the GOP: You can finally rid yourselves of the Rush Limbaughs and Glenn Becks, and upgrade to a more articulate mouthpiece. National Review columnist John Derbyshire is English, erudite, and funny. One caveat: He’s a self-described “mild and tolerant” racist and homophobe. His curmudgeonly book argues that true conservatism is pessimistic by nature and that the United States was founded on pessimism, which held intellectual sway until Emerson and the Transcendentalists. The cure for what ails? Audacious hopelessness.


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