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Print Non-Fiction August 13, 2004
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David Denby
American Sucker
2004

With I Love the 90s on the tube and the Google IPO in the chute, it's time to get nostalgic for the recent fin de siecle. And while I don't usually enjoy the literature of failure, due to the fact that most mea culpists are actually quite proud of themselves, I found American Sucker to be a guilty pleasure. David Denby, a long-time film critic for the New Yorker, tries to emerge from the wreckage of a crumbling marriage by raising a million dollars in the runaway bull market. As a celebrated journalist, Denby has access to an amazing cast of characters: stock analyst Henry "Amazon $400" Blodget, Sam Waksal of ImClone, SEC chief Arthur Levitt, and the New Yorker's own economics writer, John Cassidy. Denby fails, of course, and quite spectacularly, although he does manage to keep his day job (and get a book deal). The payoff for me, I suppose, was getting to relive the CNBC-on-every-TV era from the relative safety of Denby's prose.


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