Book Bits |12 November 2016

An Extraordinary Time: The End of the Postwar Boom and the Return of the Ordinary Economy
By Marc Levinson
Summary via publisher (Basic Books)
An acclaimed economic historian describes how the postwar boom abruptly ended in the early 1970s, launching an era of political and financial turmoil that we’re still living in today. The decades after World War II were a golden age across much of the world. It was a time of economic miracles, an era when steady jobs were easy to find and families could see their living standards improving year after year. And then, around 1973, the good times vanished. The world economy slumped badly, then settled into the slow, erratic growth that had been the norm before the war. The result was an era of anxiety, uncertainty, and political extremism that we are still grappling with today.

Class Clowns: How the Smartest Investors Lost Billions in Education
By Jonathan A. Knee
Summary via publisher (Columbia University Press)
The past thirty years have seen dozens of otherwise successful investors try to improve education through the application of market principles. They have funneled billions of dollars into alternative schools, online education, and textbook publishing, and they have, with surprising regularity, lost their shirts.

The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads
By Tim Wu
Summary via publisher (Knopf)
From Tim Wu, author of the award-winning The Master Switch ( a New Yorker and Fortune Book of the Year) and who coined the term “net neutrality”—a revelatory, ambitious and urgent account of how the capture and re-sale of human attention became the defining industry of our time.

The New Minority: White Working Class Politics in an Age of Immigration and Inequality
By Justin Gest
Summary via publisher (Oxford University Press)
It wasn’t so long ago that the white working class occupied the middle of British and American societies. But today members of the same demographic, feeling silenced and ignored by mainstream parties, have moved to the political margins. In the United States and the United Kingdom, economic disenfranchisement, nativist sentiments and fear of the unknown among this group have even inspired the creation of new right-wing parties and resulted in a remarkable level of support for fringe political candidates, most notably Donald Trump.