A BOOK REVIEW
ADULTS IN THE ROOM by YANIS VAROUFAKIS
Whatever your political leaning, your views on the European Union, your stance on Brexit or your opinion of other European nationals and nations, THIS is an essential read.
It’s a shocking read too.
Now, as I’ve blogged before, I do tend towards (occasionally) a book of substance. I find a racy, thriller or crime mystery, or quirky, page turner irresistible, but tend to alternate between those and something which thumps my brain into inquisition.
Adults In The Room, certainly managed to do that! Varoufakis was, very briefly, the finance minister for Greece. He attempted to oversee a re-financing of Greece’s debts and negotiate terms with the remainder of Europe for a fairer and more forward thinking solution to the apparently ‘bankrupt’ state of Greece at the time.
You have to stay with him on his explanations of both the financial arrangements in place at the time and those of his proposals. There was plenty of re-reading as I tried my absolute hardest to be fully informed, before judging how I felt about what I was reading.
He also, essentially in my opinion, broke down to a room by room, committee by committee, country by country description of the mechanics of the European Union and its associated financial institutions, councils and groups. Truly, it was a revelation. I believed myself to be fairly well informed and versed with the world, but the whole deep, dark and murky world revealed in Adults In The Room, was as enlightening to me as it was terrifying. And still is.
Varoufakis has a confidence about his words, a purposeful, relentlessly positive thrust to project his beliefs, desires and understanding. In fact, by half way through the book I was amazed he hadn’t already thrown the towel in!
Due to the (necessarily) technical nature of much of the book, it’s not a rolling, smooth ride through the pages (such as the last political memoir I read – John Bew’s extraordinary biography of Clement Attlee, Citizen Clem, reviewed on THIS BLOG POST). As I have said, there needs to be some re-reading if you’re trying to devour this as your eyes droop and your head drops on the pillow at night. BUT, it’s worth the effort.
I found Yanis’s explanations gave me an insight and understanding I would never have believed myself capable of achieving. Having this greater understanding then released my mind to enjoy the sociological and societal ideologies so thoughtfully delivered here.
Having set my stall out to only review books I enjoy, I can, without reservation, recommend this important and engaging modern political…… er, farce? thriller? mystery? dystopia? It’s hard to actually BELIEVE how ridiculous some of the exchanges between supposed ‘grown ups’ can be.
Varoufakis serves his confidently delivered prose with a healthy side of humility, a bright eyed belief in ‘people’. His enthusiasm for his socialist views is infectious. His realism prevents this becoming a dreamy ‘if only we all loved each other’ book aimed purely at those sharing his ideology. This is illustrated by the alliances he forms with politically unlikely bed fellows. Including some from the right of British politics.
Fascinating, terrifying yet heart warming, detailed yet not patronising, it truly is a fine thing.
For anybody with more than a passing interest in politics, or in Europe, or in Brexit, or in what those at the VERY top are really about. Or, indeed, WHO is at the very top……..