The second volume of the acclaimed biography of economist John Maynard Keynes takes his story from the controversial publication of The Economic Consequences of the Peace, through the reception of The General Theory in 1937. Reprint. NYT.
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The second installment of Skidelsky's three-volume biography of the 20th century's most influential and controversial economist. As in the superb first volume (1986)--which took Keynes (1883-1946) through the immediate aftermath of WW I--Skidelsky (International Studies/University of Warwick) offers a perceptive portrait, one that here reveals a worldly-wise philosopher at the peak of his considerable powers. Focusing on Keynes the innovative, albeit pragmatic, thinker who abandoned any notion that classical economics was a body of knowledge rather than a method of analysis, the author provides accessible perspectives on how the economist involved himself in Whitehall's disastrous decision to return England to the gold standard in 1925; in the mass misery of the Depression; and in other great issues. Stressing his subject's constant efforts to devise an economic system that would tame capitalism's more savage features without unleashing socialism, Skidelsky shows how Keynes achieved international stature sufficient to affect FDR's New Deal and then went on to write a masterwork with remarkable staying power, The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money. In tracing the metamorphosis of Keynes from clever young man to authoritative adult, moreover, the author doesn't scant the public man's private life. Among other insights, he provides a moving account of how Keynes, long a homosexual, astounded Bloomsbury friends by falling in love with and marrying Lydia Lopokova, a Russian ballerina. Covered as well are the ways in which Keynes (who moved easily among venues as varied as academe, the arts, finance, government, and high society) used his market savvy to make himself a wealthy man. (One cavil: Skidelsky devotes too much attention to trivial details--e.g., furniture purchases for the Keynes country home and the given names of a servant's children.) A comprehensive and commanding profile that's bidding fair to become the standard reference. (Sixteen pages of b&w illustrations) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Keynes (1883-1946), in Skidelsky's view, was a practical visionary whose achievement was to align economics with changes taking place in ethics, politics and society in a post-WW I world cut adrift from Victorian certitudes, its economy in shambles. This magisterial, gracefully written biography, the second volume in the acclaimed life of the English economist, charts Keynes's metamorphosis from Bloomsbury aesthete and college administrator to self-professed world savior who sought a remedy for the failures of capitalism in active government intervention in the market and monetary policies. Keynes's marriage to Russian ballerina Lydia Lopokova in 1925 gave him emotional ballast. His decisive role in shaping the policies of David Lloyd George's Liberal coalition and his influence on FDR's New Deal are skillfully related here. Skidelsky, a British professor of international studies, critiques Keynes's technocratic, "anti-democratic bias" and reassesses Keynesian economics' relevance in this penetrating biography. Photos.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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