Lords of Finance by Liaquat Ahamed

General Description (From AudioFile)

Even those who aren’t generally interested in economics will enjoy this historical look at wealth and power in the early twentieth century. Four magnates, each with the power of his country’s federal reserve, controlled the world’s finances. Their dealings in regulating the cost of currency among their respective countries became influential in causing the Great Depression. Stephen Hoye hones in on the author’s brutal use of satire in attacking the four lords’ ascendancy. Since the story deals with England, France, Germany, and the United States, Hoye’s multilingual talents add depth to the characters and their milieus, adding an extra reason to enjoy his performance. Brimming with subtle humor and abundant detail, this audiobook is smartly enhanced by the narrator’s skill and will be enjoyed by connoisseurs of both history and economics. J.A.H. © AudioFile 2009, Portland, Maine

Why the President Should Read It
The similarities between our current economic troubles and those that occurred at the beginning of the Great Depression are striking. Equally important are the decades that led to both crises, and in order to understand the potential solutions to our current crisis, it would be helpful if our President understood the events that led up to the Great Depression. This book is a clarifying history that makes it obvious that while there were smart men involved with the economy, finance, and banking during the years preceding the Great Depression, they also made many mistakes which, in hindsight, appear obvious. Some of the same mistakes are being repeated today, and some of the mistakes of 80 years ago are still affecting us today. Perhaps a thorough reading of this book would assist our President in trying something different than the failed policies of the past.

Especially interesting are the views into the personal lives of those whose influence was greatly felt in the formation of the Federal Reserve system of the United States. While this book is not a comprehensive history of the Federal Reserve by any means, it is a great help in understanding the intentions and thoughts of those who created it.

Personal Notes
I didn’t know anything about the author when I read the book. Having done some research after reading the book, I find that he and I have some fundamental disagreements about economics, specifically regarding recent actions taken by world governments and proposed solutions for the current problems (see the Amazon.com Exclusive written by Ahamed). However, I did not know we had such different views while reading the book, which leads me to believe it is fairly even-handed and accurate in its portrayal of the history it covers.