This Book is Crap

by F.

Which book, you ask? Boeing Versus Airbus, by John Newhouse. I read chapter one, at the end of which I asked, “And the point was ______?”

Usually, an answer pops into my head. Not here. So I’m like, “Huh? Am I missing something? This seems entirely unstructured.”

In times like these, I like to calibrate my intuition with other sources. I mean, it could be that I’ve got gas, or am hungry, or am otherwise pissed off from cleaning up cat vomit. Publisher’s Weekly is a good source for confirmation (Amazon reviews are generally garbage.).

What does PW say?

Yet while the former New Yorker writer has invested a tremendous amount of effort in interviews and research, he fails to assemble his facts, quotes and informed judgments into a coherent story. Newhouse introduces a fleet of issues: international sensitivities, cost overruns, governance structure, missed deadlines, the U.S. airline crisis, purchase negotiations, engine mechanics, government subsidies, the economics of plane size, the composition of airplane wings. But his touch is too light.

That reviewer nailed it. Oh, well. It’s only 250-some pages. (Imagine Munch’s The Screem here.)

Of course, on the Random House website, encomiums pepper the pages: “There is no better commentator on this sporting struggle than John Newhouse,” we learn, attributed to The Economist. Yet we’re not told whether the praise was about this book or not.

Probably not. Or it’s a cut-and-paste job, according to the conventions of which this quote:

I imagined he was a really nice guy, but then I came home one day and he was sodomizing my hamster in the linen closet

becomes

…a really nice guy…

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