[As a courtesy to our guests, please keep comments to the book and be respectful of dissenting opinions. Please take other conversations to a previous thread. - bev]
Host, Cynthia Kouril:
When I was a kid, my aunt gave me her library of Nancy Drew books; the old ones from the 40’s and 50’s before they re-wrote Nancy into a simp. One of the things I really like about those books was that they were well researched on the background information so I learned a lot of miscellaneous factoids that came back to help me on the SATs. Until I read The Clue of the Black Keys I had never before heard of the volcanic glass, obsidian. The Scarlet Slipper Mystery was my first introduction to the Russian Revolution. The books provided a painless way to teach added value information and allow for passive learning.
Since FDL started the Book Salon program I have waded through many a non-fiction history or economics book. I wanted to learn the information in those books, but some were a bit, erm, dry. Like unhorsed-cowboy-crawling-through-the-desert-with-an-empty-canteen dry. Some had so much information that, if I wanted to absorb it all, it had to be read in short bursts with time in between to process what I had read.
So what’s this all got to do with Nomi Prin’s new novel? Well, it’s like the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. If you want to learn, and understand, the lessons from the last Great Depression and how they are relevant today, but you don’t have the discipline to make yourself read the textbooks, THIS is your lucky day.
Told from the point of view of the young female manager of a Wall Street area diner that appears to have been sited in the same spot that now has the atrium where the Occupy Wall Street working groups meet each evening, this novel is a parable for the very events that are going on at Wall Street today.
The protagonist, Leila Kahn, is that same working class voter that keeps supporting policies and people in the 1% because she so desperately wants to believe that she too will be a 1%er one day so she’ll support policies and positions that are against her own interest and the interests of people like her. She is Joe the Plumber in a charming, yet inexpensive, frock. I kept wanting to smack her upside the head.
She grows to disdain her labor organizing Irish carpenter boyfriend because his talk about how the rapaciousness of the 1% is unfair to the 99% challenges her fantasies about her future. She cheats on him with the fictional married grandson of J.P.Morgan, Sr.
Roderick Morgan is a moral weakling who is under the thumb of his Uncle Jack (J.P. Jr.) and who helps Jack commit frauds in the offering of securities that are directly analogous to the current frauds in the offering of mortgage backed securities.
Interwoven through the “love” story between these two miscreants is a treasure trove of information about the causes of the Great Crash and the dumb-as-dirt “remedies” tried by the Hoover Administration and the MOTU banksters, .i.e., bank bailouts, tax cuts to spur hiring, abandonment of regular small investors who lost everything lest they encourage “moral hazard,” blaming small investors for using predatory credit that was too freely given for margin accounts, and allowing huge swathes of regular people to be stripped of their savings, their businesses and their homes. Sounds familiar, eh?
The beauty part is that this book is a fast and easy read so you will absorb a ton of well-researched factual knowledge without losing your horse, crawling through the desert, or emptying your canteen. It’s a fun, easy way to learn and understand a whole lot of important information that banksters would prefer you never know and delivered in a way that exposes the hypocrisy of many of the proposed “cures” for our current economic woes. It really is a terrific learning tool and delivers information in a form that even Members of Congress should be able to understand.