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Showing posts from October, 2012

When America Foreclosed. The Foreclosure of America by Adam Michaelson

Adam Michaelson, a marketing executive at Countrywide, was intrigued when he was invited to a meeting at the Vault - a nuclear bunker deep underground.  He listened in amazement to a presentation advocating mortgages that actually increased the amounts which people owed on their houses.  This was based on the premise that house prices would keep rising.

Michaelson immediately imagined a scenario in which house prices began to decrease and the forthcoming disaster.  "Are you nuts?" he asked the presenter..  He loved working for Countrywide and he developed the "Realize Your Dreams" campaign.  Michaelson really felt that this huge company was helping people do just that because it loaned people money to help them buy houses and apartments.  Even the image of the campaign - a nice house with white picket fence -  was the embodiment of the Great American Dream.

Disillusionment set in, however, when he realised what was going to happen and he watched the company go int…

Every American Should Read This Book!

John Quincy Adams by Harlow Giles Unger is a gripping biography and highly recommended.  Every American should read this enlightening and exciting book about the great diplomat, lawyer and president who suffered great tragedy in his life and overcame it with aplomb and resilience. (I am Australian but I like American history). You will fall in love with this learned crusader who was a pioneering advocate of free speech and abolition.  The biography is never boring and reads like a novel.
Adams's wife, Louisa, was also a strong and clever person.  I am interested in reading more about her.
I had to read this on my Kindle but I'm very grateful to Net Galley for giving me a free copy.

Women Will Save The World by Caroline A. Shearer

(Saint Teresa of Avila)

This is a wonderfully interesting and inspiring book.  A mixture of historical profiles about powerful women such as Saint Teresa and Nellie Bly and autobiographical essays by modern women, this is a great book that you will want to read a few times.

I got a free copy from Net Galley on my Kindle but I will probably buy it in paperback as well.

                                 (Nelly Bly)

Backwards in High Heels by Thomas Carty

This is a fairly dry and factual biography of Faith Whittlesey, a formidable woman who was Reagan's Ambassador to Switzerland twice and a prominent member of his Senior Staff.  It covers her rise to fame and her somewhat tragic personal life well.  I also found the details of her time in Switzerland interesting.

When Whittlesey arrived in Switzerland the first time, Reagan's policies were extremely unpopular and there were large protests in the usually quiet country.  Whittlesey did a lot to win over the Swiss with her charm, her social events, and her enjoyment of Swiss sports.  She travelled through the country explaining Reagan's policies and she also went out of her way to make friends with important Swiss businessmen, who are apparently the 'rock star's of Swiss society.

Whittlesey's  influence helped to negotiate an acrimonious settlement between Swiss banks and American law enforcers over insider trading.  This was extremely difficult.  This part of the…

Miss Dreamsville and the Collier County Women's Literary Society by Amy Hill Hearth

I haven't finished this delightful book by Amy Hill Hearth yet, but I'm enjoying it more than any book club that I've joined! Set in the turbulent times of the 60's in a small town in Florida, it involves a diverse set of interesting characters, including literary housewife Jackie, divorcee Doreen, and a murderess.  Their lives are turned upside down by joining the book club founded by Jackie, a newcomer to the town who also secretly becomes 'Miss Dreamsville'.  As 'Miss Dreamsville' she stars on a night-time radio programme and plays music to fit her mood.  This 'wakes up' everyone in town - they all wonder who she is.

Women were expected to get married and become housewives in small-town Florida in the 60's so the formation of the book club upsets a lot of people and the members start getting into trouble.  The one who runs the most risk is Priscilla, an African-American maid, who has big ambitions...

Written in a charming and gentle way …