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 20th century.
Somehow Mr. Ahamed has been able to peg a many-faceted international economic story to the outsize personalitiesone each from the United States, France, Britain and Germanywho made up that rescue team. And he succeeds so well that the potential opacity of his material is easily penetrated. The reader who might not expect to be enthralled by the dangerous mutability of the gold standard, for example, will find it a subject of real fascination. And Mr. Ahamed does a superlative job of explaining the ever-germane way the problems of one shyster, one bank, one treasury or one economy can set off repercussions all around the globe.