'You cannot read Brown's account of the crisis and deny his role in this. First, he grasped early the serious imbalances in the world economy - China and India's surpluses, the US and developed nations' deficits. Indeed he went on about them until his fellow finance ministers were bored to death. Secondly, he shows an extraordinary intellectual grasp of the various related problems and solutions, not just the generalities but the detail, the numbers. Thirdly, he did not make mistakes that other leaders made. The US made the banking crisis infinitely harder to solve by letting Lehman Brothers go under. In Britain, no bank defaulted on its obligations. Nor did Brown fall for partial solutions, just lending to banks temporarily. Instead he insisted on their capital restructuring. He produces in this book a soundbite which in seven words encapsulates the whole damn crisis: the banks were "taking excessive risks but with inadequate capital". Finally, after the banking system was shored up, he fostered positive policies, both domestically and internationally, to prevent the financial meltdown leading to an economic one' --David Lipsey, Guardian 18/12
'The crisis following the collapse of Lehman Brothers in September 2008 took the UK closer than we were told at the time to the edge of not just a financial but a civil disaster. "We were days away", writes Brown, "from a complete banking collapse: companies not being able to pay their creditors, workers not being able to draw their wages, and families finding that ATM had no cash to give them".... There is no denying that Brown is more intellectually engaged with economics than any other front-rank politician, and has been since the 1990s. "I am proud that whatever my faults I have maintained a resolutely anti-protectionist, pro-market and pro-globalisation stance." He believes that the West may face a decade of stagnation, unless there is "a growth pace" or a "global New Deal". He argues that "markets need morals" and that a kind of financial equivalent of compulsory international air-safety regulations should be introduced, to avoid a repeat of 2008; 'The battle is now on for the soul of the 21st century"' --Robert Harris, Sunday Times 12/12
'[Brown's] book is gripping because his matter-of-fact recounting of the early months of the crisis conveys the dilemmas and angst of policymakers as they tried to handle the biggest economic drama in decades... The book conveys well Brown's sense of history, the rapid pace of change in the global economy and the failures of unfettered markets to manage things on their won. But it also conveys his moral sensibilities. He was a finance Minster who realised that finance was not an end in itself; that the true gauge of an economy was how it affected the well-being of its citizens. He was concerned about unemployment, not just inflation. He recalls his commitment to eradicating poverty and helping Africa, with the 2005 Gleneagles summit and the cancellation of debt of the poorest countries, an achievement about which he is justly proud.... What is clear from this book is that Brown knew what needed to be done and tried to do it at a time when others were paralysed, captured by the financial community, or deluded by their past mistakes into trying to underestimate the severity of the crisis that their policies has helped create' --Joseph Stiglitz, Financial Times 11/12
'It's as impossible to think of Gordon Brown at the recent Fifa meeting in Zurich pleading England's cause for the World Cup as it is to imagine David Cameron expounding the nitty-gritty of capital adequacy ratios at a meeting of the G20. When the economic crisis erupted in 2008-9, Brown, like Churchill in 1940, was the right man in the right place at the right time. He'd had 10 years as Chancellor of the Exchequer. He'd read widely and thought deeply about economics, finance, globalisation. He was the one national leader who came to the crisis with a plan and the authority to push it through. This is his story of how he did it, told soberly, clearly, compellingly. It is not a defence of his premiership, but his personal account of a heroic moment in it. He does not claim credit for "saving the world", but lets the story speak for itself, and praises the contribution of his own team and the other world leaders. It is an interrupted story, because he did not survive long enough politically to finish the job. Since he left the scene efforts to co-ordinate recovery policies have fallen to pieces. This is the measure of his achievement - and the hole that his departure left' --Robert Skidelsky, Observer 12/12
'On Tuesday night, a hall full of students cheered a politician... His name was Gordon Brown... [their cheers] sounded like something that students often demand, but which you can't actually demand, any more than you can demand love. The cheers sounded like respect'
--Christina Patterson, Independent 11/12
'Beyond the crash is a visionary work that jostles as awkwardly against standard political biographies as its overbearing subject did against less ministers in the corridors of Whitehall. This compelling book is neither a personal confession, nor an effort at self-justification and score-settling, nor an exercise in maximising royalties, like the recent biographies of Tony Blair and Peter Mandelson' --Anatole Kaletsky, The Times 11/12
'Brown's resolutely austere... analysis of the economic crisis powerfully makes the rather more worthwhile case for global cooperation' --Books of the Year, Non Fiction, Metro 16/12