This isn’t really a review, since pretty much everyone I know has read this book. I’m going through it for the 4th time (I think), so I’m beginning to notice patterns (since that’s what the book is all about) in what I like about it, what interests me, and what impresses me.
The first thing that struck me was Stephenson’s amazing skill at wordcraft. He does SUCH a great job conveying the maximum amount of significant thought in just the right amount of words.
The next thing that struck me is that I like the WW2 parts of the book MUCH better than the modern parts. I decided this after realizing that everytime I came to the end of a WW2 section, I inwardly groaned, and was excited to finish the modern sections. This isn’t to say the modern sections are bad, it’s just a personal preference.
The next thing that struck me is how knowledgable Stephenson is in a wide range of topics. I can only imagine that he too went to Manila with a GPS in hand and wandered the city for weeks, a la Randy. And he must surely have talked long with people who’ve started tech businesses, because he appears to really grok the intricacies of the high tech investment business. The first time through I was amazed at his ability to understand crypto. But everyone gets that.
One thing I wonder about is his depiction of MacArthur. I’ve never read or heard anywhere else that he wore pink dressing gowns to war. Any WW2 buffs want to clue me in on whether that was literary license?