RaveBookforumTooze’s expansive, essential account of the crisis and the years that followed narrates the past decade of bankruptcies, bailouts, and stimulus packages. Highlighting the economic interconnectedness the world’s national economies had achieved by 2008, he shows how the crisis turned the abstract idea of a \'global\' economy into something unhappily concrete ... As he does with the crisis itself, Tooze gives the \'technical and contentious business” of international finance a weight, a form, and a texture—not easy, given how wedded it is to its own abstraction. At its core he finds a set of unresolved contradictions: between national sovereignty and supranational governance, between local laws and global regulations, between running a country and planning the world.
MixedThe New RepublicThere might be something refreshing about the fact that capitalism has not yet gained full control over its means and ends, and that there are millions of people sitting around getting paid to do nothing all day. Graeber doesn’t buy it. On the contrary: He considers bullshit jobs to be a profound form of psychological violence, a scourge that’s fueling resentment, anomie, depression, and apathy ... Graeber insists that there’s no value in working for the sake of just working. That often gives the impression that anyone who does want to work for work’s sake must be a bit of a sucker and that the compulsion to work is a manifestation of false consciousness or, worse, stupidity. He thus glosses over the strongly felt benefits, be they professional, social, or psychological, that many people get from their jobs. If Graeber’s unscientific assertions about bullshit jobs feel vital, urgent, and intuitively true, his dismissals of work’s inherent value—not moral, but social—feel incomplete.
RaveBookforumHer book is a deconstruction of the looming, nonspecific anxiety that comes from continually having to justify your right to exist on one or another side of a line ... Kassabova writes with particular curiosity about the men and women who are or have been complicit in the violence that takes place at borders ... Kassabova’s writing isn’t partisan or prescriptive, but it does raise political questions and gives them a deep emotional resonance. How can anyone be 'from' anywhere in a place where villages have frequently swapped names and populations? What’s it like to be permanently on a side you haven’t chosen? ... Running through her narrative is a vivid sense of the wildness of the place. Kassabova taps into atmospheric tensions; she’s so attuned to the hum of leaves and moss and rocks that if she claimed to have been a witch in a past life, you’d probably believe her. She ends her book with a plea to preserve these forests. Border does occasionally verge on the florid, but it’s also sharp and stuffed with information—it’s hard to imagine a more original and compelling introduction to a virtually unknown region.
PositiveBookforumThe New Odyssey, is a compendium of his work on the scene, but he structures the wide-ranging narrative around the experiences of one man, Hashem al-Souki. The conditions of their first encounter are as dramatic as the journey that follows ... Kingsley's exuberant curiosity gives the book some informative twists, as he interrupts Hashem's trajectory to explore the wider context. His observations on the economics of migration are particularly revelatory, most of all those about the inner workings of the refugee-smuggling trade, whose protagonists he pursues doggedly ... The New Odyssey presents itself as 'the story of the twenty-first-century refugee crisis,' but while Kingsley covers his bases and then some, the book falls short of a definitive account. He doesn't quite shake the deadline-driven urgency of the daily-news reporter, occasionally succumbing to tired clichés. The lexicon of the refugee crisis is full of imprecise, watery metaphors: waves, wakes, flows, floods, influxes, floodgates, tides. This sort of language, even when employed inadvertently, has a dehumanizing effect ... Kingsley's biggest contribution in The New Odyssey is to drive home a very basic notion that many nonetheless find difficult to understand: Refugees take enormous risks because there simply is no other choice.