Extended Audio Sample

Download In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample In FED We Trust: Ben Bernankes War on the Great Panic Audiobook, by David Wessel Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (348 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: David Wessel Narrator: Dan Woren Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: August 2009 ISBN: 9780307713520
Regular Price: $20.00 Add to Cart
— or —
FlexPass™ Price: $17.95$5.95$5.95 for new members!
Add to Cart learn more )

“Whatever it takes”

That was Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s vow as the worst financial panic in more than fifty years gripped the world and he struggled to avoid the once unthinkable: a repeat of the Great Depression. Brilliant but temperamentally cautious, Bernanke researched and wrote about the causes of the Depression during his career as an academic. Then when thrust into a role as one of the most important people in the world, he was compelled to boldness by circumstances he never anticipated.

The president of the United States can respond instantly to a missile attack with America’s military might, but he cannot respond to a financial crisis with real money unless Congress acts. The Fed chairman can. Bernanke did. Under his leadership the Fed spearheaded the biggest government intervention in more than half a century and effectively became the fourth branch of government, with no direct accountability to the nation’s voters.

Believing that the economic catastrophe of the 1930s was largely the fault of a sluggish and wrongheaded Federal Reserve, Bernanke was determined not to repeat that epic mistake. In this penetrating look inside the most powerful economic institution in the world, David Wessel illuminates its opaque and undemocratic inner workings, while revealing how the Bernanke Fed led the desperate effort to prevent the world’s financial engine from grinding to a halt.

In piecing together the fullest, most authoritative, and alarming picture yet of this decisive moment in our nation’s history, In Fed We Trust answers the most critical questions. Among them:

• What did Bernanke and his team at the Fed know–and what took them by surprise? Which of their actions stretched–or even ripped through–the Fed’s legal authority? Which chilling numbers and indicators made them feel they had no choice?

• What were they thinking at pivotal moments during the race to sell Bear Stearns, the unsuccessful quest to save Lehman Brothers, and the virtual nationalization of AIG, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac? What were they saying to one another when, as Bernanke put it to Wessel: “We came very close to Depression 2.0”?

• How well did Bernanke, former treasury secretary Hank Paulson, and then New York Fed president Tim Geithner perform under intense pressure? 

• How did the crisis prompt a reappraisal of the once-impregnable reputation of Alan Greenspan? 

In Fed We Trust is a breathtaking and singularly perceptive look at a historic episode in American and global economic history.

Download and start listening now!

BK_RAND_001935

Quotes & Awards

  • “...a tale that’s nothing short of hair-raising..reveals in scary detail how unprepared politicians and regulators truly were... Paul M Barrett, The New York Times Book Review
  • “Wessel delivers an engrossing account of Bernanke's improvisational responses to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. Fortune Magazine
  • ... so far the most entertaining and most readable book on the financial crisis. Tyler Cowen, marginalrevolution.com
  • ...persuasively told and richly reported... It will win awards and inspire copycats. BusinessWeek
  • David Wessel brings his deep knowledge of the Federal Reserve and U.S. politics and economics to a topic that will be studied by historians for decades to come...No one can understand what happened and what did not happen without reading this book. Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics and author of Globalization and its Discontents
  • “Gives a revealing blow-by-blow account of the recent financial crisis.”

    New York Times

  • ...gives a revealing blow-by-blow account of the recent financial crisis David Brooks, The New York Times
  • “...essential, lucid—and, it turns out, riveting—reading. Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
  • “Wessel delivers an engrossing account of Bernanke’s improvisational responses to the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.”

    Fortune

  • “Persuasively told and richly reported…It will win awards and inspire copycats.”

    BusinessWeek

  • “David Wessel brings his deep knowledge of the Federal Reserve and U.S. politics and economics to a topic that will be studied by historians for decades to come…No one can understand what happened and what did not happen without reading this book.”

    Joseph E. Stiglitz, winner of the Nobel Prize in economics and author of Globalization and its Discontents

  • One of the 2009 New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction
  • A New York Times Bestseller

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Howard Olsen | 2/16/2014

    " Yet another book about the Crash of '08, this one told from the perspective of Ben Bernanke and the Federal Reserve. The writing is fluid and at times elegant. Wessel explains the nuts and bolts of central bankery well, although it can still be hard to grasp just how much power and money the Federal Reserve has under its control. Like the military and the courts, the Fed is supposed to lie outside politics, and for the most part Wessel describes a Fed whose chairman and governors focus intently upon the economy. Warning: if you are a Bernanke critic, this book may make you gag at times, as Wessel portrays him as the man who would do Whatever It Takes to bring the US through the crisis. Never mind that the Fed missed the housing bubble and the beginnings of the crisis, flailed around for over year, and then facilitated the transfer of hundreds of billions of dollars to Wall Street to stop a world wide bank run. This a valuable addition to the Crash of '08 literature. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Daniel | 2/13/2014

    " Bankers are not often heros, but this book of course, about bankers, is an exception to that rule in that the hero is Ben. I think especially after a few years hindsight on the great collapses of 2008 this is a good one to read to see how the Wall Street crowd was looking to the American taxpayer to save them from their own actions. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ray | 2/6/2014

    " This is a very readable book discussing the battle by the FED, and Bernake, to prevent the U.S. economy from collapsing into a full depression at the end of 2008. Many insights into the behind-the-scenes decisions being made, the extradordinary steps made to prop up the economy, and the complexity of it all. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 1/23/2014

    " Review of Ben Bernanke's interesting 2 yrs. Still amazes me how these otherwise smart guys are not so smart. (Except that the CEOs were smart enough to make gobs of money irresponsibly) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Henriquez | 12/22/2013

    " Open your eyes: we are doomed. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mary | 10/22/2013

    " Fascinating look at behind the scenes at the Fed and Treasury during the economic meltdown - what the author calls "the Great Panic". I actually read and understood the financial section of the New York Times last weekend - especially the news from Bernanke about closing the window. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike Horne | 9/29/2013

    " Good book to start to understand the Great Panic (will I be teaching this in 20 years?). It reads pretty easily. I am going to try This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Rogoff, et al. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Zach S. | 3/5/2013

    " I pretty much support Bernanke, but this is mostly a puff piece. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Ronald | 2/12/2013

    " This is a really interesting book. I was afraid that this book would be really boring. Instead the author managed to make the topic interesting. Everyone should read this book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mubeen Amjad | 1/3/2013

    " Provides a pretty good insight into what transpired in those blue days of 2008 as the world held its breath on the sidelines. Gets a little too overdramatic at times for my liking. Nonetheless, a good read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 George Kelley | 11/22/2012

    " This is a good book, full of behind the scenes info on the financial crisis. I've read a few of the books on this subject, as I became somewhat obsessed with the subject. This is one of the better ones, although not as comprehensive as All The Devils Are Here. But still, worth a read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ethan | 9/26/2012

    " A good tutorial on the Fed and how the economic crisis has changed its role, but not as juicy as Too Big To Fail. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Comaskeyk001 | 5/3/2012

    " way too journalistic, too glib, too factoid....but what we just went thru is amazing....do not believe in free markets, in efficient market pricing all that stuff is garbage but you can't expect a wsj reporter to say that "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Converse | 9/26/2011

    " An exciting account of the actions of Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner and a Fed governor unknown to me, Warsh, in the panic of summer & fall 2008 "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jane | 9/24/2011

    " An engaging overview of the lead-up to the economic crash in 2008 for individuals with only a basic macroeconomic understanding. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jb | 9/24/2011

    " From reading this book you get the idea that Fed chairman Ben Bernake pretty much saved us from another Great Depression (so far). Wessel is a Wall Street Journal reporter and seems thoroughly knowledgable. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deep | 7/4/2011

    " Think I'll include this one as supplementary reading for the Money and Banking course I teach. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Deep | 4/4/2011

    " Think I'll include this one as supplementary reading for the Money and Banking course I teach. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 11/13/2010

    " Open your eyes: we are doomed. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Orea | 7/23/2010

    " This book helped me understand how the Fed works.
    "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Michael | 7/18/2010

    " Great look at the financial crisis thru the view of the Federal Reserve and more specifically Ben Bernacke. Regardless of what you might think of what the we all missed in this crisis; makes you realize that we had the right guy fixing this mess once it happened.
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lana | 7/17/2010

    " This was a great book about the Federal Reserve Bank's role in all the 'bailouts' that happened over the last few years. It explained economics in a non-boring way, and helped me understand a lot about my workplace! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Converse | 7/5/2010

    " An exciting account of the actions of Bernanke, Paulson, Geithner and a Fed governor unknown to me, Warsh, in the panic of summer & fall 2008
    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jb | 7/5/2010

    " From reading this book you get the idea that Fed chairman Ben Bernake pretty much saved us from another Great Depression (so far). Wessel is a Wall Street Journal reporter and seems thoroughly knowledgable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jeff | 6/3/2010

    " Sympathetic and lacking in critique. Never the less it has some interesting portraits. The Fed is certainly a class based institution that serves the interests of ruling elites. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Ethan | 3/29/2010

    " A good tutorial on the Fed and how the economic crisis has changed its role, but not as juicy as Too Big To Fail. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Larry | 2/3/2010

    " Review of Ben Bernanke's interesting 2 yrs. Still amazes me how these otherwise smart guys are not so smart. (Except that the CEOs were smart enough to make gobs of money irresponsibly) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Comaskeyk001 | 11/13/2009

    " way too journalistic, too glib, too factoid....but what we just went thru is amazing....do not believe in free markets, in efficient market pricing all that stuff is garbage but you can't expect a wsj reporter to say that "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mike | 10/20/2009

    " Good book to start to understand the Great Panic (will I be teaching this in 20 years?). It reads pretty easily. I am going to try This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly by Rogoff, et al. "

Write a Review
What is FlexPass?
  • Your first audiobook is just $5.95
  • Over 90% are at or below $12.95
  • "LOVE IT" guarantee
  • No time limits or expirations
About the Author
David Wessel is the economics editor of The Wall Street Journal and writes the Capital column, a weekly look at the forces shaping living standards around the world. David has shared two Pulitzer Prizes, one for Boston Globe stories in 1983 on the persistence of racism in Boston and the other for stories in The Wall Street Journal in 2002 on corporate wrongdoing. He appears frequently on National Public Radio and is a regular on PBS’s Washington Week.
About the Narrator

Dan Woren is an American voice actor and Earphones Award–winning narrator. He has worked extensively in animation, video games, and feature films. He is best known for his many roles in anime productions such as Bleach and as the voice of Sub-Zero in the video game Mortal Kombat.