If journalism is the first rough draft of history, Tooze’s book is the second draft. A distinguished scholar with a deep grasp of financial markets, Tooze knows that it is a challenge to gain perspective on events when they have not yet played out. He points out that a 10-year-old history of the crash of 1929 would have been written in 1939, when most of its consequences were ongoing and unresolved. But still he has persisted and produced an intelligent explanation of the mechanisms that produced the crisis and the response to it ... One of the great strengths of Tooze’s book is to demonstrate the deeply intertwined nature of the European and American financial systems.
Tooze’s expansive, essential account of the crisis and the years that followed narrates the past decade of bankruptcies, bailouts, and stimulus packages. Highlighting the economic interconnectedness the world’s national economies had achieved by 2008, he shows how the crisis turned the abstract idea of a 'global' economy into something unhappily concrete ... As he does with the crisis itself, Tooze gives the 'technical and contentious business” of international finance a weight, a form, and a texture—not easy, given how wedded it is to its own abstraction. At its core he finds a set of unresolved contradictions: between national sovereignty and supranational governance, between local laws and global regulations, between running a country and planning the world.
He connects the mortgage crisis to the American banking crisis to the European debt crisis to the crisis of liberalism. Brexit, Trump, Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and China’s ever-escalating role in the financial system: Tooze covers them all and much more, in a volume that’s as lively as it is long — which is to say very, on both counts ... On the apparent Democratic distaste for conflict, Tooze is quietly scathing...Democratic centrism won the (financial) war but lost the (political) peace. To judge from Trump’s ascendancy, along with the historical evidence so scrupulously marshaled in Crash, Tooze is right ... One of the great virtues of this bravura work of economic history is how much attention it devotes to issues of power.
There have been many, many books about the financial crisis, but few, if any, have treated it as a world-wide event...This is economic history on an epic scale, and readers who persevere through the book’s roughly 600 pages of text will find many surprises ... At times, Mr. Tooze lets his outrage get the better of him. He suggests that the United States might have shortened the crisis by nationalizing sick banks, but he fails to note that Britain and Germany achieved little by doing just that ... Nonetheless, Mr. Tooze has written a valuable book about the challenges of managing a tightly connected world economy. The questions he raises resonate in the Age of Trump.
Crashed is an impressive narrative history, weaving together events from around the world with a light touch and a great deal of helpful explanation. Sometimes it feels like Tooze has read every official working paper, memoir and substantive news article on macroeconomics and finance over the past decade. Even for readers who have attempted to follow the twists and turns of events, Tooze adds significant value ... For some readers, this global scope might feel a bit distracting, and sometimes the sequence in Tooze’s rendition can be confusing... Still, this is a great reference volume that you can dip into to check your facts or see what other plausible interpretations of particular events are available.
We are already aware of the story of how the world economy was destroyed by the collision of bankers’ urge to lend money with home-owners’ desire to borrow it, but Tooze’s account is masterful. He takes us inside the fear and disbelief that accompanied the great freezing of the credit on which the banks depended ... His narrative then swoops off around the world, focusing on the three great power blocs in the global economy: the US, the EU and China ... Tooze’s history is a description, not a prescription: he doesn’t give us suggestions for how the world could be better managed, he just lays out the depth of the disaster ... This book...is indispensable reading for anyone who wants to understand the past, in order to build a better future.
...the authoritative account ... In his masterful narrative, the economic historian Adam Tooze achieves several things that no other single author has quite accomplished ... Tooze is especially good at explaining the many Fed inventions that pumped trillions of dollars into every obscure corner of the financial industry. He demystifies the impenetrably technical contrivances used by both private companies and central banks ... Tooze does a fine job of explaining the delicate dance between the bank’s leaders and its real masters in Germany ... Tooze excels at explaining the byzantine political bargaining that led to policy compromises that avoided outright depression but stifled the European economy ... Crashed does have some minor blemishes. One is its structure. Tooze generally proceeds chronologically. For the most part, this strategy works ... the text occasionally loops back on itself.
In Crashed, Adam Tooze sets himself the mammoth task of making sense of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) and its consequences over the last ten years. By and large he succeeds brilliantly ... Sometimes the detail Tooze gives of how decisions were made during the crisis is fascinating even to someone familiar with these events ... The geopolitical scope of this book is remarkable ... Tooze describes Brexit, the Ukraine crisis and Trump’s election in typically incisive prose, yet here I felt the lack of an overarching narrative. These events are still unfolding, it’s true, but it seems to me that some elements of the story are now firmly in place.
...most of the details in this book will be familiar. But it is the configuration of Tooze’s analysis that is novel ... Tooze makes a convincing case that the crash came from a failure of international regulation and the lack of political will to limit a dangerous system of financial risk ... Tooze is careful to show that the crash was not simply the fault of banks and regulators ... Tooze is a master of the modern financial report and his book is built on a dizzying array of expert reports, studies and Financial Times and Economist articles. He is the financial reader’s reader.
Tomorrow’s chroniclers will be grateful for Mr Tooze’s assiduous research. He leaves no mortgage-backed security uncovered, no collateralised debt obligation unexamined in his effort to produce the most comprehensive account of this complex and gripping subject. The general reader might find it a bit of a slog. It is not that the author cannot see the wood for the trees, more that the forest is so large and dark that it is easy to get lost. Sometimes the broader themes simply get overshadowed by an account of another round of cliffhanger meetings.
Crashed gives readers a detailed and superbly researched account of the origins and consequences of the wave of financial crises that emanated from the core of the global financial system from 2007. The prose is clear. The scholarship remarkable. Even people who have followed this story closely will learn a great deal.
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. But it is well researched and many readers will come to it fresh and wonder, as does Tooze, at the circumstances that forced governments that proclaimed the virtues of free markets to become interventionists on a huge scale in order to stop their banking systems from collapsing.
In Crashed, Tooze once again embeds geopolitical analysis in the character of transatlantic financial flows ...Crashed is undoubtedly a major contribution to making sense of the 2008 crisis and its global aftermath. But the book itself manifests a symptom of its subject. As global finance recovers, the narrative in the second half of the book bogs down in the contingent blow-by-blow of political events ... The book struggles in the end to pin down the exact relationship between politics and economics, but that is hardly Tooze’s fault. The relationship is elusive in Crashed because it is in fact elusive. Liquid capital defies narration.
Written by Adam Tooze...Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crisis Changed the World combines simple explanations of complex financial concepts with a majestic narrative tracing the prehistory and destructive path of the crisis across the planet (including long, apt and erudite chapters on Russia, the former Soviet satellites, China and south-east Asia). It also offers original insights into the nature of the wounded beast (financialized capitalism) ... Tooze helps dissolve several stereotypes ... Informative, and often delightful, insights are to be found on every page.
Although he presents more information than most readers will require, Tooze makes the arcana of international economic policy relevant to a lay audience by framing his account with Donald Trump’s political ascension ... In addition to making international economics understandable and attention grabbing, Tooze has written an essential addition to the ranks of histories that place Trumpism in context.