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American Sucker by David Denby
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Feb 05, 2009

"[N]obody really wants to read about his own foolishness," notes the Wall Street Journal. "Or write about it." Except Denby. How did this smart man (and author of Great Books) become a half-witted speculator? Denby, simultaneously whiny, pedantic, and giddy as befits the boom and bust cycle he recounts, charts his personal transformation. At best, American Sucker is an honest, well-written memoir about marriage, professional responsibility, and love and loss--even if his attempt to grapple with philosophers and put his journey into a larger framework fails. At worst, it's a meandering, journalistic piece that reveals Denby's everlasting belief in the American dream--a dream readers will be smart to question.

This is an excerpt from a review published in Bookmarks magazine.


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