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John Maynard Keynes: Vol. 2 - The Economist as Saviour 1920-1937 [Paperback]

Robert Skidelsky

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Book Description

12 Aug 1994
'A path-breaking contribution to the intellectual history of our time, and a kind of hymn to the role of creative imagination in social thought.' - D.Marquand 'Anyone who wants to understand modern Britain has to read Skidelsky's biography.' - T.Congdon

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29 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Fine book on a great man 21 Jun 2000
By Tom Gillis - Published on
This is vol. 2 of Skidelsky's Keynes biography (any sign of vol. 3?). It is a very enjoyable (and exhaustive) account of the most productive professional years (Bretton Woods aside) of one of the great figures of the 20th century. Keynes was the son of Victorian intellectual academic bougiousie; a star of the public school system; trained in mathematics and economics (student of Marshall); student of philosophy, then a bureaucrat in academia and government, becoming an expert in public finance as a high-ranking Treasury official during WWI; a traveller in artistic circles (later a benefactor), part of the Bloomsbury group (intimate with Duncan Grant, Virginia Woolf, etc. (to differing degrees, of course)); statistician/philosopher (his first major published work was "A Treatise on Probability"); pamphleteer ("Economic Consequences of the Peace," etc.); publisher/editor for both the popular and academic press; institutional investor; currency speculator; husband to a Russian ballet dancer; and most influential economist of the 20th century. Keynes would not be possible today.
The one drawback to the Skidelsky book is that it can be slow going. Those with no background in economics should be prepared to skim sections (or work hard). If you're already familiar with the difference between Ricardo and Malthus, and how their thinking carried through Jevons, Marshall, and Marx, and can follow arguments on gold standard vs. floating exchange rates, then you should be able to breeze through.
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