Book in the news: a useful addition to the library of crisis literature

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World coverCrashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World
Adam Tooze
Published by Allen Lane (£30)
(Buy at Amazon)

It’s been ten years since Lehman Brothers collapsed, turning what was known as the “credit crunch” into the Great Recession. In that time, we’ve had the eurozone crisis, Brexit and the rise of populism, and plenty of attempts to analyse the causes of the global financial crisis. Few, however, are likely to match Adam Tooze’s book in scope, ambition or rigour, says Duncan Weldon in Prospect.

The prose is “clear” and the scholarship “remarkable”, says Martin Wolf in the FT. Tooze blames an “irresponsible and poorly regulated financial sector” for the crisis, but it wasn’t just the fault of American banks – “European banks had built up huge dollar liabilities and assets, with nearly all of those liabilities consisting of short-term market borrowing”.

“Those like me who have read or written it before might find that there is more narrative than analysis, and that at times that detail can be a little wearying,” says David Smith in The Times. And Tooze has “an unnecessarily jaundiced view” of “the period of economic stability and low inflation in the years leading up to the crisis”.

Still, the book is clearly “well researched” and Tooze “explains things well, without getting bogged down in technical complexities”. All in all, it is “a useful addition to the growing library of crisis literature”.