Robert J. Samuelson: ‘The Alchemists’ is “splendid,” “gracefully written.”
Syndicated columnist Robert J. Samuelson has a sharp new column looking at the failures of European authorities in Cyprus through the lens of the broader story told in the new book, “The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire.” Samuelson writes:
The bailout of Cyprus — if it can be called that — bore all the trappings of Europe’s standard response to its economic crisis. The last-minute, melodramatic rescue was complex, contentious and controversial. Decisions were taken that, for now, prevent Cyprus’s problems from spilling over to the 16 other countries that use the euro. But the same steps may make matters worse in the long run. No one who reads Neil Irwin’s splendid new book, “The Alchemists: Three Central Bankers and a World on Fire,” will be surprised.
Most accounts of the crisis have treated it mainly as an American affair. Irwin departs from convention by recognizing it as a global event and focusing equally on Europe’s turmoil. The title refers to the medieval chemists and con men who tried to convert everyday materials into gold and silver. Irwin’s modern alchemists lead the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank (ECB) and the Bank of England. But he could also have called his book “The Improvisers.” For improvisation is how they’ve reacted to today’s turbulence.
Samuelson further describes the book as “gracefully written and exhaustively reported.” Read the whole column here.