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I heard Lowenstein on the New York Times book review podcast and it sounded interesting. I had just finished “Courage to Act” by Ben S. Bernanke and this book seem to fit right into the topic.
The book starts in 1787 and follows the topic of the need for a Federal Bank. Alexander Hamilton fought for a central bank but many opposed a strong federal government. Lowenstein goes into detail about President Wilson and his fight for the Federal Reserve and how they passed the “Federal Reserve Act of 1913.”
This is a story of politics, disagreements, decisions, including crises that culminated in the Federal Reserve Act. Lowenstein’s account of the financial crises before the establishment of the Fed powerfully demonstrates that it is imperative for the Federal Reserve System to maintain its effectiveness and independence from politics. The author gives us striking portraits of key figures well known and unknown, involved in the creation of the central bank.
The book is well written and well researched. The author writes in an engaging manner that makes dry material interesting.
There are currently a number of reforms being proposed in Congress that would undermine the effectiveness and independence of the Federal Reserve. This is a must read book to fully understand the history and all the issues involved, so one can understand the critical nature of the proposed changes to the Federal Reserve Act. Robertson Dean did a good job narrating the book. The book was not too long at nine and half hours.
12 of 13 people found this review helpful
A good account of a part of US and world financial history that I didn't know well. Good portraits of Aldridge, Warburg, Andrew, Davidson, Glass, Untermeier, Wilson. A little weaker on Strong and McAdoo, but then again they became more prominent later. Recommendable.
But easy on the Lowenstein-esque attempts at drama. This was a historic bill, no doubt, and there were odds against it, but exaggeration can become hard to bear.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful