Friday, March 05, 2010

My Favorite Negative Book Review

For those who haven't heard, Professor Joseph Weiler is facing criminal charges for publishing a negative book review, and has asked others dig up far more negative reviews so that he may prove this one is nothing out of the ordinary. Steven Landsburg published his nominee here. Here is mine, written by Edward Snyder (University of Chicago) and published in the prestigious Journal of Economic Literature on "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man." Here is the opening paragraph:
This awful autobiography is mostly about conspiracies orchestrated by the U.S. corporatocracy and the troubled global economy. John Perkins writes in an absurdly comical way, offering at the outset that this "is a true story" that "must be told" (p. x). Whether it is worse on the conspiracy or economy dimension is not obvious. A more worthy question that I'll address later is how Confessions became a New York Times best seller.
The whole review is worth reading. Confessions is not.

9 comments:

Michael Ward said...

The opening paragraph of Ed Leamer's scathing JEL review of Thomas Friedman’s "The World is Flat" is classic.

"When the 'Journal of Economic Literature' asked me to write a review of 'The World is Flat,' by Thomas Friedman, I responded with enthusiasm, knowing it wouldn’t take much effort on my part. As soon as I received a copy of the book, I shipped it overnight by UPS to India to have the work done. I was promised a one-day turn-around for a fee of $100. Here is what I received by e-mail the next day: “This book is truly marvelous. It will surely change the course of human history.” That struck me as possibly accurate but a bit too short and too generic to make the JEL happy, and I decided, with great disappointment, to do the work myself."

liberty said...

In the journal Soviet Studies in 1991 there was a blistering attack by John Litwack on a book by Paul/Pawell Dembinski called The Logic of the Planned Economy: Seeds of the Collapse. The author was accused both of contributing nothing new to discussion of the fall of communism, and of not knowing basic economics. It is the most scathing review I have ever read.

Anonymous said...

Hmm that's very interessting but frankly i have a hard time visualizing it... wonder how others think about this..

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This issue begins with a symposium on treaty interpretation. The principal EJIL 20th Anniversary symposia were extra-systemic: looking at the way international law deals with the use of force or certain aspects of globalization.

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