26 May 2012
Review: The Escape Artists: How Obama's Team Fumbled the Recovery
The Escape Artists: How Obama's Team Fumbled the Recovery by Noam Scheiber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
While this book pegs itself as "how Obama's team fumbled the recovery," the book is primarily concerned with quick biographies of the economic team that was put together during and following Obama's election. Thus, the actual how takes a backseat to the who.
This is not to say that the who is unimportant, as there's a lot of detail in place as to how such an illustrious team was able to get so much so wrong. The book misses the mark in a way because it simply accepts the Obama team's arguments regarding how to deal with the crisis uncritically, never thinking for a moment that they may have been wrong from the start with the how. Instead, we get a sympathetic viewpoint of the team, the Republican opposition is almost always a bit of a caricature, and the end result is one that misses what may have been a more informative book in favor of one that promotes a certain ideological viewpoint.
There are flashes of good journalism in this book, for sure - the discussions of Christina Romer and Tim Geithner were both top notch, and the debt ceiling recap did show some surprising fidelity to what's known, but the rest felt lacking.
View all my reviews