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Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World

by

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize

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 twentieth century

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person?s or government?s control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear?that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation? and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.

For a brief period in the mid-1920s they appeared to have succeeded. The world?s currencies were stabilized and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boom-town prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.

As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

Review:

"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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

From the 1870s to 1914, the world's developed nations basked in a shimmering age of commerce. The European powers were at peace. Goods flowed home from colonies. The newly reunited United States was growing into muscular adolescence. And all of the world's major economies rested on a seemingly solid base: the gold standard.

But it proved to be a system in a snow globe, easily shattered.... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Book News Annotation:

Ahamed, a professional investment manager who advises several hedge fund groups and who has worked at the World Bank, tells the stories of the men in charge of the four principal central banks of the world after World War I, Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank in Germany, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, who attempted to reconstruct international finance after World War I and return to the gold standard. He describes how, in the mid-1920s, they appeared to succeed in stabilizing the world's currencies, aiding the flow of capital, and creating economic growth, and the subsequent problems that lead to the Great Depression. He includes discussion of economist John Maynard Keynes' dissenting views. Annotation ©2009 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize

andquot;A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now.andquot; --The New York Times Book Review

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

Synopsis:

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 twentieth century

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person?s or government?s control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear?that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation? and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.

For a brief period in the mid-1920s they appeared to have succeeded. The world?s currencies were stabilized and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boom-town prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.

As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

About the Author

Liaquat Ahamed has been a professional investment manager for 25 years. He has worked at the World Bank in Washington D.C. and the New York based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as Chief Executive. He is currently an adviser to several hedge fund groups, including the Rock Creek Group and the Rohatyn Group, is a director of Aspen Insurance Co. and is on the board of Trustees of the Brookings Institution. He has degrees in economics from Harvard and Cambridge Universities.

Table of Contents

Lords of Finance Introduction

Part One: The Unexpected Storm

August 1914

1. Prologue

2. A Strange and Lonely Man

3. The Young Wizard

4. A Safe Pair of Hands

5. L'Inspecteur des Finances

6. Money Generals

Part Two: After The Deluge

1919-23

7. Demented Inspirations

8. Uncle Shylock

9. A Barbarous Relic

| Part Three: Sowing A New Wind

1923-28

10. A Bridge Between Chaos and Hope

11. The Dawes Opening

12. The Golden Chancellor

13. La Bataille

14. The First Squalls

15. Un Petit Coup de Whisky

Part Four: Reaping Another Whirlwind

1928-33

16. Into the Vortex

17. Purging the Rottenness

18. Magneto Trouble

19. A Loose Cannon on the Deck of the World

20. Gold Fetters

Part Five: Aftermath

1933-44

21. Gold Standard on the Booze

22. The Caravans Move on

23. Epilogue

Acknowledgments

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Product Details

ISBN:
9781594201820
Author:
Ahamed, Liaquat
Publisher:
Penguin Press
Subject:
Corporate & Business History - General
Subject:
Banks & Banking
Subject:
Finance
Subject:
Bankers
Subject:
Capitalists and financiers
Subject:
Corporate History
Subject:
Business-Banking
Edition Description:
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
20090131
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
from 12
Language:
English
Illustrations:
b/w art and photos throughout
Pages:
576
Dimensions:
9.51 x 6.5 x 1.65 in 1.9 lb
Age Level:
17-17

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Related Subjects

Business » Accounting and Finance
Business » Banking
Business » History and Biographies

Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$32.95 In Stock
Product details 576 pages Penguin Press - English 9781594201820 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "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." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize

andquot;A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now.andquot; --The New York Times Book Review

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person's or government's control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of that economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades. As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, their fallibility, and the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

"Synopsis" by ,
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 twentieth century

It is commonly believed that the Great Depression that began in 1929 resulted from a confluence of events beyond any one person?s or government?s control. In fact, as Liaquat Ahamed reveals, it was the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear?that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation? and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.

For a brief period in the mid-1920s they appeared to have succeeded. The world?s currencies were stabilized and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boom-town prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.

As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

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