In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.


or
Sign in to turn on 1-Click ordering.
More Buying Choices
Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

In FED We Trust: Ben Bernanke's War on the Great Panic [Deckle Edge] [Hardcover]

David Wessel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
List Price: CDN$ 33.99
Price: CDN$ 27.19 & FREE Shipping. Details
You Save: CDN$ 6.80 (20%)
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
Usually ships within 1 to 3 months.
Ships from and sold by Amazon.ca. Gift-wrap available.

Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover, Deckle Edge CDN $27.19  
Paperback CDN $13.00  

Book Description

Aug. 4 2009
“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.

Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

Review

“...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

“...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

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.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
Search inside this book:

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Behind the FED Philosophy Nov. 28 2010
Format:Hardcover
There are two types of economic models - pure market economy, and an economy with regulation and supervision. In the aftermath of the U.S. 2008 financial crisis, the world economy model, has been opting for control using fiscal and monetary policy. "In FED, We Trust", showed the path that the FED has followed to fight the financial crisis and revealed the philosophy behind these approaches to regaining economy control. Understanding these philosophies would help predicting future policies the government and the central bank would adopt and therefore place oneself at a better position for economic benefit.
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.8 out of 5 stars  65 reviews
102 of 111 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Trivia in place of analysis Dec 2 2009
By boomy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I am an academic economist doing research on the financial crisis. I read Wessel's book for details about the interventions by the Fed and Treasury in 2008 that I might not have encountered elsewhere. I was not expecting an academic treatise, and my negative review is not in any way related to the journalistic approach taken by the author.

Wessel is the economics editor at the Wall Street Journal and appears to have had a great deal of access to Bernanke and Geithner. His insider's perspective unfortunately produced very little insight. You can learn (p.115 AND p.192) that Bernanke used a "Polycom" speakerphone, but not that Hank Paulson and Richard Fuld were bitter rivals.

On a more substantive level, the book continually updates a "dashboard" with the Dow Jones average and the market cap of Citigroup. The success of each intervention is judged by the reaction of the stock market, generally within the day, to the policy. Does Wessel not remember that the Dow hit an all time high in October 2007, six months after subprime problems had emerged at Bear Stearns?

There is almost no discussion of the complex, leveraged financial instruments (e.g. CDOs and CDS) that amplified the crisis and made traditional monetary policy ineffective. A more thorough account would have also explored the regulatory failure of the Fed and federal government prior to the crisis.

On balance, the book is too narrow for someone just trying to go beyond the headlines and too superficial for those looking ahead to the next crisis.
87 of 108 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the hoopla: nothing earth-shattering offered Aug. 12 2009
By I am C, Not X - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This book is about how Ben Bernanke / The Fed battled against "The Great Panic" that besieged us. It reads like a fairly dry history of what transpired - kind of like a summary of what we've been watching on CNBC the last 2 years. Somehow Wessel took one of the most exciting moments in our current lives and made it almost bland and somewhat boring. Sure, there are some juicy facts but only after you get through more than half of the book. Overall, there is not much revealed that's earth-shattering if you kept abreast of what happened during this time. The book is at times choppy in motion and repetitive in content. I found that the first half of the book was a waste of my time -- the set-up the author felt necessary could have been presented much more succinctly. Example: there is a section within Bernanke's biographical chapter that details a prank he played on President Bush one day by coordinating the whole economic staff, along with even Dick Cheney, to wear tan socks as an inside joke among Bernanke and Bush. There are other strange off-topic insertions, like the curious offering that Donald Kohn, Fed Vice-Chair, lived in his son's basement for a while and that he used to ride his bike to work, parking his bike in the Fed garage that was reserved for its governors' cars. And that he liked to run up and down the stairs of the Fed building. Uh, huh.

The first inclination you have when you pick up this book is to dive in deep and fast to find out what went on in the minds of Bernanke, Paulson, and Geithner, among others. There must have been some amazing discussions, fraught with fear but Wessel never quite captures this for the reader to experience. Instead of providing a window into these men's thoughts / thought processes during this pivotal, riveting time, the book doesn't go far beyond merely reciting the actions they took, with some quotes from these men, scattered in as almost afterthoughts. [The footnote style is arguably incomplete with respect to some quotes.]

Overall disappointing. Wessels' cursory conclusions end up sounding rudimentary - likely attributable to what was probably a rush to publish and capitalize on the current curiosity-- which is understandable. But, there is still more to this subject. As of today's FOMC meeting, the Fed still hasn't started to unwind its actions. So, the book seems to be a bit early. Wessel even mentions that Hank Paulson is in the process of penning his own account of the economic crisis. Maybe Paulson will take us deeper into the minds of the big players during this frightful period, even if it is through his eyes, and not a third party's.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Excellent Contribution to the Literature on the Great Panic of 2008 Nov. 21 2009
By Michael K. Crowley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
IN FED WE TRUST, by David Wessel, in the third exceptional book I have read about the recent financial crisis. Unlike TOO BIG TO FAIL and STREET FIGHTERS, IN FED is a more analytical, non-chronological, intensely thoughtful analysis of events leading up to the crisis as well as the crisis itself. We also learn a good deal not only about Bernanke but his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, as well.

In addition, we learn a lot more about Timothy Geithner and Hank Paulson, the other two fascinating characters in this near-calamity.

Wessel is excellent at explaining the intricacies of the complicated, innovative--but ultimately poisonous--instruments that were partially to blame for the meltdown, as well as in translating "FedSpeak" so that the reader understands concepts like the Fed's discount window, how interest rates reverberate throughout the economy, and how there were fundamental changes in the very structure of our financial system that were difficult even for bankers, economists and the best-educated politicians to decipher. What the Chairman of the Fed doesn't say is sometimes as important as what he does say. Bernanke is under the microscope, and this book explains what kinds of pressures are involved in his job.

What I most appreciate about this book is that it does not endeavor to demonize any of the major participants. Wessel is for the most part sympathetic to the efforts and intentions of the major players, although he definitely pulls no punches when pointing out where mistakes were made. And there were plenty, to be sure. He eunerates them in considerable detail (including stupendous goofs by Greenspan).

As a reader, I came away the feeling this was a very balanced, thoughtful and fair book. It also avoids the tawdly sensationalism and hysterical finger-pointing that pockmarks some of the other analyses of what occurred. Nor does it feel rushed, the way Gasparino's SELLOUT feels, or that there is some intense axe to grind, as disturbs some other potentially valuable works on this subject. Unlike some other books, this one seems focused rather than sprawling, cohesive rather than needled together with thread to meet a publishing deadline.

This is an excellent book that strikes a nearly perfect balance between analysis and exposition. What it may lack in immediacy, it more than makes up for in depth.
22 of 29 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Total Whitewash Feb. 19 2010
By Vain Saints - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
It is an unfortunate sign of how enervated the Mainstream Media outlets have become that Wessel, in all probability, actually believes he is acting as a sort of iconoclast and that the title of the book is some sort of cutting irony. In reality, it is an exercise in abject sycophancy. Wessel's point is that while the Fed may have goofed, these are all honest and exceptionally gifted individuals running the show and that the real danger here lies in allowing the current troubles bring about a populist groundswell that would put the Geithners and Bernankes of this world (to say nothing of hyper-criminal Hank Paulson) under scrutiny, out of power, or (would that t were possible) in jail. This is transparent establishmentarian damage-control masquerading as criticism. It is truly sad that most commentators are even worse, allowing Wessel to believe that his meager shrinking quibbles constitute a bold and dignified protest. It is also sad that his establishmentarian rear-covering seems to come so instinctively that he has forgotten that he is doing it. Read this book only as an illustration of the self-preservation instinct of social elites.
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars In Ben We Trust Oct. 26 2009
By Charles de Trenck - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Bernanke is the hero of this story. It reads well and with a lot of quotes/paraphrases peppered throughout. This is a book about the personalities - usually government side - of the crisis and how Bernanke played the lead and central role. In a sense it is a complement to the more focused accounts such as the New Yorker piece 21 September 2009, Eight Days, or the October 2009 piece from Esquire, The Deal of the Century. Even Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone updates can also be added into the mix to even the scales (good core comments even if sensational). And for historical perspective, despite being a little slow, Martin Meyer's The Fed is a good supplement.

If this is a fast, easy and enjoyable read, it is also one-sided in how it recreates many key events, often taking the side of the officials dealing with the blow-ups, and not showing much of what was going on over at the corporates. This is a book about key personalities and brings together great quotes and chronologies around meetings. It is not about the institutions. Something is missing on the institutions, if this is going to be a balanced account.

Yet also what it does not do with many of the personalities is find too many faults with other than the fall guy for everyone... If Paulson is shown up for his investment banker, short attention span mentality, then the Geithners of the story are left to be seen crisis solving without showing how some of their original Grand Canyon size oversights allowed the mess to balloon in the first place.

***

I did enjoy reading the book, though, following my disappointment reading Ben Bernanke's Fed: The Federal Reserve After Greenspan...And my other recent disappointments going back to Greenspan's biography, as well so many other Fed category books.

The book does achieve a lot, despite the drawbacks. David Wessel has done a good job weaving the key government side characters (and there notably at least 2-3 of the four musketeers, Bernanke, Geithner, Warsh and Kohn). Greenspan is discussed just enough (ie, not too much to waste our time re-hashing old material).

But I will fault the writer for key omissions - even if he was focusing on doing a good job on the core personalities for the book. There is just about nothing on Goldman...There are a few small case studies such as on Citi's failed attempt to get Wachovia. But on the Citi case study, we only get about a four page description. We don't get any insight into the crisis at Citi and dealing with Citi's blackhole balance sheet, which surely was one of the larger scenes of the crime, and thus the crisis (and a company that was saved instead of one that fell apart... we really don't get a picture here...and of course Rubin and others, especially given Rubin's purported long term role in getting Geithner in as a player....For more related stories, the range goes from stories such as The Washington Post, 25 November 2008, Familiar Trio at Heart of Citi Bailout...to Pro Publica, 14 January 2009, How Citigroup Unraveled Under Geithner's Watch).

Of course, we do get a customary description on key blow-ups Bear and Lehman, and a little on AIG (and yet..., where is the discussion on Bernanke and others, and the decision process on paying 100% on dollar to banks - SocGen, Deutsche, Goldman and others - holding certain AIG products that in any normal situation would at the very least warrant a significant haircut!).

We really do need to shift to the Esquire piece on JP Morgan's tussle with Barclays on handling Post-Lehman issues, and also the New Yorker piece on the Lehman breakdown...

The last section of the book also falls off quickly. There are a few very recent updates from mid-09 as the book likely went to press, which is misleading because we are expecting some higher level of detail for events in 1Q09, which just aren't there...

If I had to bet, a lot more Fed and Washington people were talked to for the book than Wall Street people. We also need a Martin Mayer (author of The Fed, 2001) approach or others to updating the Fed's pirouettes with more historical perspective. If we don't get more objective presentations from authors - we will have to keep reading blogs and occasional feature pieces like the Rolling Stone, New Yorker or Esquire accounts...

A good book for the color gained on key events. But the rose colored glasses have a strong tint and narrow vision.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews
ARRAY(0xba556f6c)

Look for similar items by category


Feedback