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Culture and Arts

Culture Watch

In this issue:

Books: Lords of Finance, apart from being a wonderful lesson in international monetary economics and finance, is a true page turner. No Room for Doubt will appeal especially to our readers as it shows how one remarkable senior woman found the courage and strength to overcome the odds and achieve greatness. Serena is a tale of ruthless ambition and intrigue concerning the rape, by logging, lumber and pulp companies, of thousands of acres of the beautiful Smoky Mountains. And Consider This DVD: Fat Rose & Squeaky is a story will resonate with those of us who are determined to stay in control of our lives, and to protect what we have

Books

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World”

by Liaquat Ahamed

Published by The Penguin Press; hardcover, 576 pages ©2009

 

“Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

George Santayana

 

Lords of Finance could not have come out at a better time. I can now see clearly how the Obama economic team is trying to avoid making the same mistakes that led to the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Apart from being a wonderful lesson in international monetary economics and finance, it is a damned good read, a true page turner.

In the early 1960’s when I was a graduate student at the London School of Economics, I read John Maynard Keynes’s General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money. In those days I wasn’t sure what the practical value of that book would be. Now, after reading Ahamed’s dramatic account of characters and events on the world economic stage in the years between the first and second World Wars, I appreciate Keynes for his heroic efforts to influence the financial policies of the governments and central banks of Britain, the US, France and Germany during those years as the world economy lurched towards the abyss, following outmoded 19 th century gold-standard orthodoxy.

Ahamed’s fascinating story concentrates mainly on the lives and careers of four central bank governors: Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the New York Federal Reserve, Emil Moreau of the Banque de France and Hjalmar Schacht of the German Reichsbank — “the four bankers who broke the world” — with many interesting anecdotes about the great political leaders of the time and the colorful crooks and charlatans who undermined the stock markets and banks.

The author moves these characters masterfully on and off his stage to create a seamless web of history, biography and economics that leaves the reader satisfied with knowing exactly how things went wrong in the past and understanding how world leaders might just be able to avoid repeating the same mistakes in the present. A must-read.

John Malone

 

No Room for Doubt; A True Story of the Reverberations of Murder

by Angela Dove

Published by Berkley Books; © 2009, hardcover, 372 pages with photographs

I read this book almost non-stop over the last two days; it is hard to put down.

It is also hard to categorize. Taken at face value, it is the meticulously researched and skillfully told true story of the vicious murder of a young mother (Dove’s own stepmother), a suspenseful, real life “whodunit,” set in Central California in the late 1980’s. But it is much more than that: It is also a touching memoir of the author’s coming of age as a bookish, withdrawn child of divorce, trying repeatedly to have a closer father-daughter relationship. It is the story of that father’s agonizing attempts to cope with his own personal demons: three failed marriages, chronic depression, anger, guilt and alcoholism.

First and foremost it is the inspiring story of the courage, love and perseverance of Jacque MacDonald, the murdered woman’s mother, who never gave up her personal nine-year crusade to find her daughter’s killer and bring him to justice. Angela Dove, who was the last person to see the victim alive the night she was brutally killed, was asked by Mrs. MacDonald to write the story of the murder and how it finally empowered her not only to solve the case but also to turn her own tragic loss into a means of reaching out and helping other families of victims all over the US and even abroad. In 2007, Mrs. MacDonald received the National Crime Victims’ Service Award from the US Attorney General.

Angela Dove is an award-winning columnist and writing teacher. This is her first book. It will appeal to a wide variety of audiences, but especially to our own readers on Seniorwomen.com as it shows how one remarkable “senior woman” found the courage and strength to overcome the odds and achieve greatness.

JM

Page Two of Reviews>>

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