Because I mentioned Neal Stephenson’s Quicksilver a couple of times earlier this year, I will now add that I’ve finished reading it. The pace picks up a bit around page 800.

To be slightly less unfair, I should say that a number of people have told me that the second and third books are better. And the narrative pace does not detract from the argument about the beginning of modern Europe, which is an interesting one.

Also, Body of Secrets drags towards the end, too. The last two chapters seemed to be mostly proving that he had walked around inside NSA-land and talked to a bunch of people about things that had largely been secret before. It read like he was paying his sources back for the access they had granted. I think the basic problem is that the details from the late 1990s are still close for Bamford to have worked out the historical importance of what he learned. That’s a real contrast to the parts of the books that cover the period from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Anyway, Bamford’s new bookis about intelligence failures that preceded 9/11 and the misuse of intelligence in the runup to the Iraq war. If he’s still got his good sources, it should be a knockout.

This entry was posted in A Fistful Of Euros, Culture and tagged by Doug Merrill. Bookmark the permalink.

About Doug Merrill

Freelance journalist based in Tbilisi, following stints in Atlanta, Budapest, Munich, Warsaw and Washington. Worked for a German think tank, discovered it was incompatible with repaying US student loans. Spent two years in financial markets. Bicycled from Vilnius to Tallinn. Climbed highest mountains in two Alpine countries (the easy ones, though). American center-left, with strong yellow dog tendencies. Arrived in the Caucasus two weeks before its latest war.

1 thought on “Slowsilver

  1. By Page 800, damn, I gave up aboutn half-way. Snow crash was an amazing read, I still find it hard to think that the same person wrote them both.

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