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August 2015 Vol. 52 No. 12

University Press of Colorado

The following review appeared in the August 2015 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences

2014-12194 CIP
Gambling debt: Iceland's rise and fall in the global economy, ed. by E. Paul Durrenberger and Gisli Palsson. University Press of Colorado, 2014. 284p bibl index afp ISBN 9781607323341 pbk, $19.95.

This book of essays edited by Durrenberger (emer., anthropology, Univ. of Iowa) and Palsson (Univ. of Iceland) is an impressive collection that blends the writings of authors from diverse disciplines to address Iceland’s 2008 financial collapse.  Historians, anthropologists, economists, poets, and key local participants come together to explore, explain, and—most important—warn readers of the neoliberal policies (mainly the privatization of banks and fishery resources) that helped lead up to the country's financial collapse.  The book is a must read for anyone interested in economics, business, politics, or the worldwide economic stage in general; readers interested in Iceland’s involvement in the crisis and the fallout the country faced as a result will also be intrigued by the book's contents and approach.  Taken as a whole, the book is an honest, entertaining, and informative work that explores the changing distribution of wealth and the impact of privatization as well as the historical identity of Iceland and the numerous factors that came together to help produce such an economic meltdown.

--A. E. Leykam, College of Staten Island (CUNY)

Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above.