The Economist: The Alchemists’ “sweep is impressive”
The Economist reviews The Alchemists, and has this to say:
Mr Irwin’s sweep is impressive. He uses anecdotes from the main historic crises to explain financial jargon which is not only thick, but changes over time. Thus, the wobbly British “discount houses” of 1866 are replaced by bubbly American “trusts” in 1907. Jumping forward, Mr Irwin sets out to explain how the personal histories of the banks’ current bosses—Ben Bernanke, Jean-Claude Trichet and Sir Mervyn King—explain their reactions to the events that began in 2007. Mr Bernanke’s portrait is the most attractive: a prodigious child who became a relaxed and long-haired student and a consensus builder as an adult. Sir Mervyn shares his American counterpart’s first-class academic training, but is a stubborn economic purist and a divisive manager; Mr Trichet a poet and left-wing activist who became a wily and skilled negotiator. When crisis first struck, all took similar steps, stimulating their economies with a “wall of money”. But whereas Mr Bernanke was quick to reach agreement on what America should do, Sir Mervyn was slow, solitary and academic.
Read the full review here.