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The Alchemists: Inside the secret world of central bankers [Paperback]

Neil Irwin
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

25 Mar 2014

When the first rumblings of the coming financial crisis were heard in August 2007, three men who were never elected to public office suddenly became the most powerful men in the world. They were the leaders of the world's three most important central banks: Ben Bernanke of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mervyn King of the Bank of England, and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank. Over the next five years, they and their fellow central bankers deployed trillions of dollars, pounds and euros to try and contain the waves of panic that threatened to bring down the global financial system.

Neil Irwin's The Alchemists is both a gripping account of the most intense exercise in economic crisis management we've ever seen, and an insightful examination of the role and power of the central bank. It begins in Stockholm, Sweden, in the seventeenth century, where central banking had its rocky birth, and then progresses through a brisk but dazzling tutorial on how the central banker came to exert such vast influence over our world. It is the story of how these figures and institutions became what they are - the possessors of extraordinary power over our collective fate. What they chose to do with those powers is the heart of the story Irwin tells.

Irwin covered the financial crisis for the Washington Post, enjoying privileged access to leading central bankers and the people close to them. His account, based on reporting that took place in 27 cities in 11 countries, is the holistic, truly global story of the central bankers' role in the world economy we have been missing. It is a landmark reckoning with central bankers and their power, with the great financial crisis of our time, and with the history of the relationship between capitalism and the state. Definitive, revelatory, and riveting, The Alchemists shows us where money comes from--and where it may well be going.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Business Plus (25 Mar 2014)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0755362683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0755362684
  • Product Dimensions: 15 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 71,996 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Brilliantly reported and riveting, Neil Irwin's The Alchemists is a must-read for anyone who wants to understand the global reach of the financial crisis through which we are still living. The international perspective brings a fascinating and wholly new dimension to the story, one that has until now not been adequately told. (Liaquat Ahamed, author of 'Lords of Finance')

Brings events to life without losing sight of the bigger issues (Money Week)

[Mr. Irwin] has provided an accessible, engrossing account of the tribulations that Mr. Bernanke, with Mervyn A. King of the Bank of England and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank, endured in pulling the world financial system back from collapse... Mr. Irwin seems to have talked with everyone, read the right scholarly papers and interviewed important dissenters in the Fed, the European Central Bank, the Bank of England and the Bundesbank... He has a nice touch for translating central banking's mysteries, opaque and forbidding, into understandable English. He is astute in describing the internal and external politics of institutions traditionally expected to remain above politics of the usual sort. (New York Times)

A detailed and fast-moving account of these perilous years. This is the crisis as told through emails, phone calls, meetings and one very fateful walk along the beach in Deauville, France. (The Wall Street Journal)

About the Author

Neil Irwin is the lead economics correspondent for The Washington Post and beat reporter covering the Federal Reserve. He was named one of Washingtonian magazine's 'Rising Stars' in a 2009 feature on 'Top Washington Journalists' and his work has won two 'Best of Business' awards from the Society of American Business Editors and Writers. He has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a master's degree from Columbia's journalism school, where he was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism.

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The masters of the universe 1 Oct 2013
Format:Hardcover
The Alchemists: Inside the Secret World of Central Bankers
By (author) Neil Irwin

After a dramatic reconstruction of the beginning of the credit crunch, Washington Post journalist Neil Irwin, who has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a master's degree from Columbia's journalism school, where he was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism gives us a tour of how central banks became such a critical part of the global financial system. The bulk of the book deals with the shadowy and unknown world of the most influential bankers on the planet. Men who were never elected to public office suddenly became the real masters of the universe.

Ben Bernanke of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mervyn King of the Bank of England, and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank. Over the next five years, they and their fellow central bankers deployed trillions of dollars, pounds and euros to try and contain the waves of panic that threatened to bring down the global financial system.

The Alchemists is a fascinating account of the most intense practice in economic crisis management and at the same time an insight of the role and power of the central bank. This is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes view of their work, and a better understanding of banks and their significance in our lives and livelihood.

This large book presents a high-drama, panoramic story of history of the relationship between capitalism and the state. It is definitive, revelatory and riveting. The Alchemists shows us where money comes from and where it may well be going. It tracks the story of the last five years from the vantage of the central bankers as they worked in close coordination to try to keep ahead of unfolding events, the global financial crises.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars  4 reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Go and get this book 2 Jun 2013
By André Watteyne - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It is a well researched, very well written , accessible, tightly structured and highly informative book. It is an almost ideal companion book for an undergraduate macroeconomics textbook.
A major theme of the Alchemists ( good title for a description of the unknown territory central bankers are bound to go into) is how difficult/impossible it is for central bankers to stay independent from politics in times of financial crisis. This independence has in theory to work both ways : resisting to political pressure and refraining from trying to influence politicians. The latter was certainly not respected by the ECB and by the BoE.
To give the reader the possibility to master and to chronologically order the wealth of information there are two very useful timelines. One at the beginning of the book and one at the end in the form of a series of pictures.
5.0 out of 5 stars The Alchemists - Bankers the masters of the universe 4 Oct 2013
By Jack Dikian - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
The Alchemists: Inside the Secret World of Central Bankers
By (author) Neil Irwin

After a dramatic reconstruction of the beginning of the credit crunch, Washington Post journalist Neil Irwin, who has an MBA from Columbia Business School and a master's degree from Columbia's journalism school, where he was a Knight-Bagehot Fellow in Economic and Business Journalism gives us a tour of how central banks became such a critical part of the global financial system. The bulk of the book deals with the shadowy and unknown world of the most influential bankers on the planet. Men who were never elected to public office suddenly became the real masters of the universe.

Ben Bernanke of the U.S. Federal Reserve, Mervyn King of the Bank of England, and Jean-Claude Trichet of the European Central Bank. Over the next five years, they and their fellow central bankers deployed trillions of dollars, pounds and euros to try and contain the waves of panic that threatened to bring down the global financial system.

The Alchemists is a fascinating account of the most intense practice in economic crisis management and at the same time an insight of the role and power of the central bank. This is an exclusive, behind-the-scenes view of their work, and a better understanding of banks and their significance in our lives and livelihood.

This large book presents a high-drama, panoramic story of history of the relationship between capitalism and the state. It is definitive, revelatory and riveting. The Alchemists shows us where money comes from and where it may well be going. It tracks the story of the last five years from the vantage of the central bankers as they worked in close coordination to try to keep ahead of unfolding events, the global financial crises.
5.0 out of 5 stars Financial Politics at a High Level 13 Sep 2013
By John T Morrison - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is a subject often discussed by people with a limited knowledge of the subject matter. It would be helpful to all who debate these issues including resolutions to the global recession to increase their knowledge base in a meaningful way.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Wrong Item 1 Nov 2013
By Carlos Garcia - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I received a wrong item, so i hope to get the right book. You were confused with the same-tittle book of Paulo Coelho
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