A compelling examination of a still-vilified monetary policy that has continued to show results in spite of conservative...

THE MONEY MAKERS

HOW ROOSEVELT AND KEYNES ENDED THE DEPRESSION, DEFEATED FASCISM, AND SECURED A PROSPEROUS PEACE

An accessible economic study of Franklin Roosevelt’s daringly effective monetary policy in the face of the Depression.

The first order of business upon Roosevelt’s inauguration in 1933 was to abandon the gold standard, as New Deal historian Rauchway (History/Univ. of California, Davis; The Great Depression and the New Deal: A Very Short Introduction, 2008, etc.) shows in this nicely focused work on the president’s gradual adoption of Keynesian policy—without actually calling it that at the time. How did FDR come to understand that the economy needed a policy “guided by the hand of man”? Indeed, Rauchway emphasizes that luck had nothing to do with Roosevelt’s policies: he was well-read and well-advised. At the time of economic crisis, bold new ideas had to be embraced, and Cambridge economist John Maynard Keynes was among a group of forward-thinking innovators. Having propounded that the gold standard was unnecessary and irrational in his work on the Indian rupee, he had subsequently set forth a grand scheme to get the post–World War I economy moving normally. However, the plan was rejected by President Woodrow Wilson, prompting the economist to write The Economic Consequences of the Peace (1919), which warned presciently of the cost of excessive reparations on Germany and lack of a stabilizing cooperation among the victors. Rauchway walks readers carefully through these first months and years of FDR’s presidency as he moved to raise prices, push through an inflation bill before Congress, and advocate for an internationally managed currency along Keynesian lines. Holdovers from Herbert Hoover’s failed policies were nudged out, and the new Keynesian thinkers were in—e.g., Henry Morgenthau Jr., secretary of the treasury, and economics professor Harry Dexter White. Moreover, the new currency program was actively used to thwart fascist extremism abroad.

A compelling examination of a still-vilified monetary policy that has continued to show results in spite of conservative criticism.

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2015

ISBN: 978-0-465-04969-1

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Basic

Review Posted Online: July 15, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 2015

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If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

THE 48 LAWS OF POWER

The authors have created a sort of anti-Book of Virtues in this encyclopedic compendium of the ways and means of power.

Everyone wants power and everyone is in a constant duplicitous game to gain more power at the expense of others, according to Greene, a screenwriter and former editor at Esquire (Elffers, a book packager, designed the volume, with its attractive marginalia). We live today as courtiers once did in royal courts: we must appear civil while attempting to crush all those around us. This power game can be played well or poorly, and in these 48 laws culled from the history and wisdom of the world’s greatest power players are the rules that must be followed to win. These laws boil down to being as ruthless, selfish, manipulative, and deceitful as possible. Each law, however, gets its own chapter: “Conceal Your Intentions,” “Always Say Less Than Necessary,” “Pose as a Friend, Work as a Spy,” and so on. Each chapter is conveniently broken down into sections on what happened to those who transgressed or observed the particular law, the key elements in this law, and ways to defensively reverse this law when it’s used against you. Quotations in the margins amplify the lesson being taught. While compelling in the way an auto accident might be, the book is simply nonsense. Rules often contradict each other. We are told, for instance, to “be conspicuous at all cost,” then told to “behave like others.” More seriously, Greene never really defines “power,” and he merely asserts, rather than offers evidence for, the Hobbesian world of all against all in which he insists we live. The world may be like this at times, but often it isn’t. To ask why this is so would be a far more useful project.

If the authors are serious, this is a silly, distasteful book. If they are not, it’s a brilliant satire.

Pub Date: Sept. 1, 1998

ISBN: 0-670-88146-5

Page Count: 430

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15, 1998

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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