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Archive for November, 2008

One of the best-made, most wide-ranging, and most heart-breaking documentaries ever made. The extent of cultural and humanitarian destruction in WWII remains unfathomable to this day…as does the examples of unparalleled and unheralded acts of heroism. The best and worst of humanity, depicted in beautiful, heart-wrenching detail:

Just as the Nazis sought to impose their race-based morality onto the diverse population of Europe, they also sought to redraw the cultural face of Europe by rearranging or destroying its great artworks. Even in the upheavals of war the Nazi leaders devoted precious time and energy to the gathering of works of art. They carried out multiple operations with cross purposes. While Alfred Rosenberg’s propaganda unit (ERR) appropriated artworks that would buttress the Party’s racist ideology and pilfered the great Jewish collections of Europe, Hitler employed distinguished art historians and corrupt dealers to steal masterpieces that would confer prestige and symbolic legitimacy on the German nation.

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Liar’s Poker author, the great Michael Lewis, is back with an amazing look at the downfall of Wall Street:

To this day, the willingness of a Wall Street investment bank to pay me hundreds of thousands of dollars to dispense investment advice to grownups remains a mystery to me. I was 24 years old, with no experience of, or particular interest in, guessing which stocks and bonds would rise and which would fall. The essential function of Wall Street is to allocate capital—to decide who should get it and who should not. Believe me when I tell you that I hadn’t the first clue.

A poignant, beautifully-written account of a gilded, morally-questionable era we will likely never see again.

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