Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

by Ben S. Bernanke
Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

Courage to Act: A Memoir of a Crisis and Its Aftermath

by Ben S. Bernanke


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From the winner of the 2022 Nobel Prize in Economics
A New York Times Bestseller

“A fascinating account of the effort to save the world from another [Great Depression]. . . . Humanity should be grateful.”—Financial Times

In 2006, Ben S. Bernanke was appointed chair of the Federal Reserve, the unexpected apex of a personal journey from small-town South Carolina to prestigious academic appointments and finally public service in Washington’s halls of power.

There would be no time to celebrate.

The bursting of a housing bubble in 2007 exposed the hidden vulnerabilities of the global financial system, bringing it to the brink of meltdown. From the implosion of the investment bank Bear Stearns to the unprecedented bailout of insurance giant AIG, efforts to arrest the financial contagion consumed Bernanke and his team at the Fed. Around the clock, they fought the crisis with every tool at their disposal to keep the United States and world economies afloat.

Working with two U.S. presidents, and under fire from a fractious Congress and a public incensed by behavior on Wall Street, the Fed—alongside colleagues in the Treasury Department—successfully stabilized a teetering financial system. With creativity and decisiveness, they prevented an economic collapse of unimaginable scale and went on to craft the unorthodox programs that would help revive the U.S. economy and become the model for other countries.

Rich with detail of the decision-making process in Washington and indelible portraits of the major players, The Courage to Act recounts and explains the worst financial crisis and economic slump in America since the Great Depression, providing an insider’s account of the policy response.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393353990
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 05/02/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 640
Sales rank: 667,293
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Ben S. Bernanke is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution. Author of the best-selling memoir The Courage to Act, he served as chair of the Federal Reserve from 2006 to 2014.

Table of Contents

Author's Note vii

Prologue I Can Still Stop This … ix

Part I Prelude

Chapter 1 Main Street 3

Chapter 2 In the Groves of Academe 21

Chapter 3 Governor 43

Chapter 4 In the Maestro's Orchestra 66

Chapter 5 The Subprime Spark 82

Chapter 6 Rookie Season 107

Part II The Crisis

Chapter 7 First Tremors, First Response 133

Chapter 8 One Step Forward 159

Chapter 9 The End of the Beginning 176

Chapter 10 Bear Stearns: Before Asia Opens 198

Chapter 11 Fannie and Freddie: A Long, Hot Summer 226

Chapter 12 Lehman: The Dam Breaks 248

Chapter 13 AIG: "It Makes Me Angry" 270

Chapter 14 We Turn to Congress 292

Chapter 15 "Fifty Percent Hell No" 314

Chapter 16 A Cold Wind 336

Chapter 17 Transition 356

Chapter 18 From Financial Crisis to Economic Crisis 385

Part III Aftermath

Chapter 19 Quantitative Easing: The End of Orthodoxy 415

Chapter 20 Building a New Financial System 435

Chapter 21 QE2: False Dawn 467

Chapter 22 Headwinds 497

Chapter 23 Taper Capers 534

Epilogue: Looking Back, Looking Forward 565

Afterword to the Paperback Edition 581

Acknowledgments 595

A Note On Sources 599

Selected Bibliography 603

Index 605

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