I have re-read this book after twelve years, and I agree with a previous reviewer: this book should be required reading for first-year economics students. And it should be a must to anyone interested in politics and policy debates.
The book tells the story of the intellectual fight between Economics "Professors": on one side the Keynesians, who believe economic policy can help mitigate booms and busts; on the other, the New Classicals, who are sceptical of the effectiveness of economic policy.
The Professors, ones and the others, had however no magic recipes for economic prosperity. So, Krugman tells us, politicians turned instead to "policy entrepreneurs", mostly journalists and the odd eccentric academic, who promised the moon with silly, cartoon versions of the Professors' ideas. An example is the idea that tax cuts will stimulate economic growth so much that tax revenues will end up increasing (the failed Reaganomics). Commentators and politicians are still trotting out these cartoon economics, which makes this book as relevant today as when it first appeared in the early 1990s.
Krugman has an extraordinary ability cut down to the core of economic ideas with great clarity and wit, which makes a potentially arid topic into a stimulating and fun read. As another previous reviewer, I wished the book would go on forever. And to update on that review, Krugman got the Nobel Prize for Economics in 2008.