1929, The Great Depression, and the Bankers who Broke the World
Samuel Johnson shortlisted & FT/Goldman Sachs WINNER: a vivid, dramatic account of the four men whose personal and professional actions led to the world economic collapse of the late 1920s.
THIS HAS HAPPENED BEFORE.
The current financial crisis has only one parallel: the Wall Street Crash of 1929 and subsequent Great Depression of the 1930s, which crippled the future of an entire generation and set the stage for the horrors of the Second World War. Yet the economic meltdown could have been avoided, had it not been for the decisions taken by a small number of central bankers.
In Lords of Finance, we meet these men, the four bankers who truly broke the world: the enigmatic Norman Montagu of the bank of England, Benjamin Strong of the NY Federal Reserve, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbanlk and the xenophobic Emile Moreau of the Banque de France. Their names were lost to history, their lives and actions forgotten, until now. Liaquat Ahamed tells their story in vivid and gripping detail, in a timely and arresting reminder that individuals - their ambitions, limitations and human nature - lie at the very heart of global catastrophe.
“NIALL FERGUSON: 'Highly readable... [Ahamed] cannot have foreseen how timely his book would be.”
“ROBERT PESTON: 'Compelling and convincing...humanises the world's descent into economic chaos.'”
“'Fascinating... Anyone who wants to understand the origins of the economic world we live in would do well to read this book...brisk, original, incisive and entertaining.”
“One of those rare books - authoritative, readable and relevant - that puts the "story" back into history... a spellbinding, richly human [and] cinematic narrative.”
“Absorbing [and] provocative, not least because it is still relevant.”
“'Superlative... a subject of real fascination... Lords of Finance has the flair and wisdom to find a wide readership on the strength of its main ideas.'”
New York Times
“... a brilliant and timely book.... Today's policy makers have learned from these dreadful mistakes, but they still have more to do to restore economic stability and bring down unemployment. They need to read this book.”
“A salutary warning from the past about the unexpected consequences of policy mistakes at the highest level. Historical but topical”
“Brilliant... a colourful monetary and financial history...Lords of Finance will help to educate as it entertains.”
“Back in the 1920s and 1930s, enormous power was wielded by a quartet of central bankers...Ahamed provides a compelling and convincing narrative of these bungling, tortured bankers vainly trying to reconcile their conflicting duties to their countries and to the global economy. The strength of this book is in humanising the world's descent into economic chaos.”
Robert Preston, The Sunday Times
“[a] fascinating and timely history”
Ian Pindar, Guardian
“I've read lots of books about economics this last year. This is one of the very best... Superb”
“A fluent and indirect paean to Keynesian economics... this resonates with the contemporary turmoil in global financial markets”
“Ahamed unravels the story of the most terrible financial collapse in history from the perspective of the four men who were largely responsible: the leading central bankers in the United States, Britain, France and Germany”
Mail on Sunday
“[a] very readable portrait of the bankers who allowed the Great Depression to happen”