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finished reading Price Wars by Rupert Russell

Price Wars (2022, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group) No rating

I am admittedly 100% primed to not vibe with this author—a posh white British war reporter named Rupert who went to Harvard doing fish-out-of-water shtick in Venezuela and Iraq would sound too cliché if I put it in a short story. There are definitely some cringe moments in the text (e.g. in the chapter on Ukraine in 2014 he does some "war in Europe felt so strange to me" opining, there's some stuff in the Iraq chapter where he centers himself in a way that felt very tone deaf). But credit where it's due: he definitely does the work to explain a very complex system, and for the most part he uses his position as a posh Harvard Brit Guy effectively to get access to people who probably wouldn't otherwise be interviewed for a book like this--like hedge fund managers, who are arguably the biggest villains in this story. It's …

Gangsters of Capitalism (2022, St. Martin's Press) No rating

Threads early 20th century American imperialism to contemporary conflicts really well; lots of cameos from famous figures of US history doing stuff that they tend to not be quite so well known for (e.g., I now only ever want to describe FDR as "a scion of narco traffickers" bc the Delano family's wealth partly came from the Opium Wars). History! It's full of blood.