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Reviews

All Post-Keynesians Now

For connoisseurs of biography, Robert Skidelsky's projected three-volume work, John Maynard Keynes, will rank with the best of the genre. The first volume appeared over a decade ago under the subtitle Hopes Betrayed. The second volume, under review here, surpasses the first. The third is not yet finished.

Like its predecessor, volume two is a masterpiece of narrative, providing superb analysis of Keynes' life and times and economic theory. Readers will learn of Keynes' contribution to both the arts and the Bloomsbury Group. And while Skidelsky's prose style is lucid enough not to discourage nonspecialists, serious students of economies will find themselves riveted to his description of the theoretical aspects of one of the most fertile and turbulent eras in economic thought.

For many today, it is difficult to reconstruct the deep ideological struggle that erupted during the Great Depression, when the already high unemployment that haunted Europe in the difficult period of adjustment following World War I exploded into mass unemployment, and when international trade, the engine of growth and employment, broke down, separating nations into self-contained units. As radical predictions by national and international socialists seemed to have been realized, fascist and communist movements were catapulted to the cutting edge of history. Ordinary democracy and capitalism were not only in disrepute, but...

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