With penetrating insights for today, this vital history of the world economic collapse of the late 1920s offers unforgettable portraits of the four men whose personal and professional actions as heads of their respective central banks changed the course of the 20th century.With penetrating insights for today, this vital history of the world economic collapse of the late 1920s offers unforgettable portraits of the four men whose personal and professional actions as heads of their respective central banks changed the course of the 20th century.Read Less
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The author has a knack for taking a dry subject and making it as interesting as a historical novel. This is a witty and interesting recount of the great men who changed Western economy in the early twentieth century and during World War I. It also offers a striking parallel to our own sudden economic failure. I put the book down and understood economic policy. Definitely a must-read for anyone concerned with the present crisis.
Publishers Weekly, 2008-12-01 If you think today's economy is scary, check out the Jazz Age horrors chronicled in this financial history of the interwar years and the central bankers who blighted them. Ahamed, an investment manager, surveys the economic upheavals of the 1920s and 1930s, when crushing war debts and reparations from WWI sparked hyperinflation in Germany and a host of lesser eruptions, all of it climaxing in the American stock market crash and the Great Depression. He tells the story through the central bank chiefs of Britain, France, Germany and the United States as they confront unprecedented crises while "shackled" by the "dead hand" of the gold standard, the era's reigning financial orthodoxy (economist John Maynard Keynes, foe of gold and apostle of economic activism, is the book's hero). The author injects unnecessary commentary about the bankers' neuroses and marital difficulties into his coverage of interest rate and currency fluctuations (New York Federal Reserve head Benjamin Strong, he notes, possessed a "large nose that spoke of ruthlessness"). Fortunately, his protagonists' high-wire efforts to stave off national bankruptcies furnish Ahamed with plenty of drama to highlight his engrossing analysis of the complexities of monetary policy. Photos. (Jan.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
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