Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World
"A magisterial work...You can't help thinking about the economic crisis we're living through now." --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 decisi...more
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The personalities are interesting, and the scent of the times wafts from the pages sufficient to sting the nostrils. This is a book written for a popular audience. No great knowledge of economics is required. But that sure would help. It is not only our elected officials, Wall Street brokers and government officials...more
The result is that the author often strives for effect, rather than truth -- there is a rhetorical element, common to many b...more
Screw waterboarding, let’s make the terrorists read this book cover to cover. Its length is only dwarfed by its lack of pace.
In theory, this is a 500 page book about the four central bankers whose missteps led to the Great Depression and sinking of the global economy in the 1930s. However, maybe half of the book is about those central bankers (who are exceedingly boring) while the other half is about the minutiae of the international financial wranglings of the time and the myriad people be...more
Ahamed's one of those lucky authors who spends a decade working on a book and then pop! it lands at Borders the second its subject supposedly becomes essential to global salvation. Suddenly every anchor with 5 spare minutes wants an interview.
Ahamed wrote a book on central banking and the Great Depression and it came out just as the economic world fell to crap. Lucky him. It also received ridiculously positive reviews from everybody.
To my mind it was tedious, plodding, repetitious, and the stor...more
As the title suggests, the author puts most of the blame on the central bankers. He cites two main reasons that led to the Great Depression. The first is the reparations that Germany was forced to pay to the Al...more
-- Part two, chapter four, time 13:40: Mixed metaphor alert: “Moreau's star was about to turn.” I guess a star can actually rotate, but, in my mental dictionary, when you wish to metaphorically indicate an improvement in someone's fortune, their star rises. Fortunes themselves, less metaphorically, can turn.
This is obviously a timely book with many frightening parallels that you will recognize from the headlines in your morning paper. However, as someone who continues to be drawn to the inter-war period, it also filled in some gaps.
Most folks interested in history...more
"Lords of Finance" is no dry accounting. It's a dense, but thrilling, examination of the leaders of the world's most powerful central banks -- in the U.S., France, Germany and Britain -- and their efforts to sustain their countries through World War I, and to rebuild when the fighting stopped. These men's ideas were often wrong, built on the fallacy of the gold sta...more
4 bancheri, 4 minţi luminate, 4 oameni care au avut în mână soarta omenirii timp de două decenii şi care au aruncat mapamondul într-o criză financiară de proporţii nemaintâlnite de şi până atunci.
Liaquat Ahamed îşi începe volumul cu un motto care susţine că biografiile sunt singurele care ne pot ajuta să înţelegem istoria. Din...more
Admittedly the story of four central bankers in the 1920s and 30s doesn’t sound like it would be on anyone’s must read list. But Liaquat Ahamed uses the outsize personalities of the bankers of the U.S., Britain, France and Germany to give a human face to the eve...more
I don't think that the book quite supports the conclusion on the dust jacket, that the "decisions taken by a small number of central bankers ....more
The author goes into great detail a...more
The harsh reparations placed on Germany during the Treaty of Versailles are detailed. They lost major production centers of their country annexe...more
Through a lively description of the events we learn there is nothin...more
Since we are in the recovery period following the Great Recession, it seemed sensible to read a book about the economics of the Great Depression. And a great choice this was. Ahamed tells the story of follies that essentially drove the world into bankruptcy and set the stage for World War I...more
I have noticed that most history books generally go into too much detail for my level of interest in whatever the subject happens to be. Initially I was quite dismayed to see that this book was around 500 pages long, but rather than being dry and overly detailed it's actually a real page turner. Like an epic story, I just wanted it to carry on into the post war era and modern finance; it could have been a thou...more
There's no question that this er...more
Almost all critics praised Lords of Finance for its command of economic history and engaging, lucid prose. Ahamed, noted the New York Times, illuminates wise parallels between the misplaced confidence that spawned the global depression in the 1930s and the illusory calculations of risk that led to the current financial crisis. His compelling biographies also personalize economic history. While critics disagreed about whether lay readers will, in a century's time, care about Norman, Moreau, and S...more
This is a story of undramatic human folly with dramatic consequences. It follows the meandering course of years of negotiati...more
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He is currently an advisor 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...more