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Axilrod, a longtime Federal Reserve System veteran, provides an insider's perspective on how the Fed has evolved over the past 50 years. Revealing the impact of personalities and their responses to political, social and bureaucratic situations, he explores such key topics such as money supply vs. interest rates, monetary base and reserve aggregates vs. money-market conditions, and increased emphasis on real-world variables rather than on monetary variables as indicators and guides for policy. The book is based mostly on anecdotal recollections of personal interactions with central bank leaders and others as they managed policy discussions and implementation. Despite the involvement of other influential parties, Axilrod's view is that chairmen took the lead in policy formation but had limited influence on the day-to-day operating targets. He also offers his thoughts on the future of the organization, noting that leaders will need to take a more direct account of international markets in making judgments about policy and its management. Informative and insightful, this view of the inner workings of the Fed will appeal to anyone with an interest in economics or curious about the organization's recent progression. (Mar.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.