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Extended Audio Sample Lords of Finance: The Bankers Who Broke the World, by Liaquat Ahamed Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,883 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Liaquat Ahamed Narrator: Stephen Hoye Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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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.

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Quotes & Awards

  • Winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Pauli | 2/20/2014

    " This puts the current econ crisis in perspective. Some of the quotes, though decades old, you wouldn't know from yesterday. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Lincoln | 2/14/2014

    " Well written, great storytelling of a very very relevant topic today. Great read with terrific portraits of the central bankers involved. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Vicky Colorado | 2/10/2014

    " Definitely recommend, especially considering the recent banking meltdowns and current banking regulations. One caveat for me: while fascinating and well researched (such detail!), something about the author's writing style left me wanting. He has a way of creating a build up that completely engrosses you, but then when he gets to the climax of the particular point he seems to gloss over it and move to the next point. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Daniel Oon | 2/5/2014

    " The history even 10/20 yo industry veterans have no idea of. Amazing read. "

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About the Author
Author Liaquat Ahamed

Liaquat Ahamed has been a professional investment manager for more than twenty-five years. He has worked at the World Bank in Washington, DC, and the New York–based partnership of Fischer Francis Trees and Watts, where he served as chief executive. He is currently an advisor to several hedge fund groups, including the Rock Creek Group and the Rohatyn Group; a director of the Aspen Insurance Company; and a member of the board of trustees of the Brookings Institution. Ahamed has degrees in economics from Harvard and Cambridge universities.