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Short Synopsis
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 twentieth century.

Full Synopsis
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 decisions made by a small number of central bankers that were the primary cause of the economic meltdown, the effects of which set the stage for World War II and reverberated for decades.

In Lords of Finance, we meet the neurotic and enigmatic Montagu Norman of the Bank of England, the xenophobic and suspicious Émile Moreau of the Banque de France, the arrogant yet brilliant Hjalmar Schacht of the Reichsbank, and Benjamin Strong of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, whose façade of energy and drive masked a deeply wounded and overburdened man. After the First World War, these central bankers attempted to reconstruct the world of international finance. Despite their differences, they were united by a common fear—that the greatest threat to capitalism was inflation—and by a common vision that the solution was to turn back the clock and return the world to the gold standard.

For a brief period in the mid-1920s, they appeared to have succeeded. The world's currencies were stabilized, and capital began flowing freely across the globe. But beneath the veneer of boomtown prosperity, cracks started to appear in the financial system. The gold standard that all had believed would provide an umbrella of stability proved to be a straitjacket, and the world economy began that terrible downward spiral known as the Great Depression.

As yet another period of economic turmoil makes headlines today, the Great Depression and the year 1929 remain the benchmark for true financial mayhem. Offering a new understanding of the global nature of financial crises, Lords of Finance is a potent reminder of the enormous impact that the decisions of central bankers can have, of their fallibility, and of the terrible human consequences that can result when they are wrong.

"Ahamed...easily connects the dots between the economic crises that rocked the world during the years his book covers and the fiscal emergencies that beset us today." ---The New York Times

"Brimming with subtle humor and abundant detail, this audiobook is smartly enhanced by the narrator's skill." ---AudioFile

"Compelling" ---The Boston Globe

"Erudite and exceedingly well-written...both timely and instructive for today's economic climate." ---Library Journal Starred Review

"Mr. Ahamed gives us rich portraits of the principal central bankers of the 1920s and 1930s and of the world they unintentionally wrecked" ---The Wall Street Journal

"A grand, sweeping narrative of immense scope and power." ---The New York Times Book Review

"[An] illuminating and enjoyable book." ---The Washington Post

"Spellbinding, insightful and, perhaps most important, timely." ---Kirkus Starred Review
New York Times Bestseller

Time Top Ten Nonfiction Book of 2009

Time Best Business Book of 2009

Library Journal Review

New York Times Bestseller

New York Times Bestseller

Kirkus Review


Amazon Bestseller

Winner of the 2009 Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award

Lords of Finance

The Bankers Who Broke the World

Author Liaquat Ahamed

Narrated by Stephen Hoye

Publication date Apr 27, 2009

Running time 19 hrs

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