America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve

America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve

Roger Lowenstein / Apr 26, 2019

America s Bank The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve A tour de force of historical reportage America s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America s modern central bank the Federal Reserv

  • Title: America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve
  • Author: Roger Lowenstein
  • ISBN: 9781594205491
  • Page: 328
  • Format: Hardcover
  • A tour de force of historical reportage, America s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America s modern central bank, the Federal Reserve Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever establishA tour de force of historical reportage, America s Bank illuminates the tumultuous era and remarkable personalities that spurred the unlikely birth of America s modern central bank, the Federal Reserve Today, the Fed is the bedrock of the financial landscape, yet the fight to create it was so protracted and divisive that it seems a small miracle that it was ever established For nearly a century, America, alone among developed nations, refused to consider any central or organizing agency in its financial system Americans mistrust of big government and of big banks a legacy of the country s Jeffersonian, small government traditions was so widespread that modernizing reform was deemed impossible Each bank was left to stand on its own, with no central reserve or lender of last resort The real world consequences of this chaotic and provincial system were frequent financial panics, bank runs, money shortages, and depressions By the first decade of the twentieth century, it had become plain that the outmoded banking system was ill equipped to finance America s burgeoning industry But political will for reform was lacking It took an economic meltdown, a high level tour of Europe, and improbably a conspiratorial effort by vilified captains of Wall Street to overcome popular resistance Finally, in 1913, Congress conceived a federalist and quintessentially American solution to the conflict that had divided bankers, farmers, populists, and ordinary Americans, and enacted the landmark Federal Reserve Act.Roger Lowenstein acclaimed financial journalist and bestselling author of When Genius Failed and The End of Wall Street tells the drama laden story of how America created the Federal Reserve, thereby taking its first steps onto the world stage as a global financial power America s Bank showcases Lowenstein at his very finest illuminating complex financial and political issues with striking clarity, infusing the debates of our past with all the gripping immediacy of today, and painting unforgettable portraits of Gilded Age bankers, presidents, and politicians.Lowenstein focuses on the four men at the heart of the struggle to create the Federal Reserve These were Paul Warburg, a refined, German born financier, recently relocated to New York, who was horrified by the primitive condition of America s finances Rhode Island s Nelson W Aldrich, the reigning power broker in the U.S Senate and an archetypal Gilded Age legislator Carter Glass, the ambitious, if then little known, Virginia congressman who chaired the House Banking Committee at a crucial moment of political transition and President Woodrow Wilson, the academician turned progressive politician who forced Glass to reconcile his deep seated differences with bankers and accept the principle anathema to southern Democrats of federal control Weaving together a raucous era in American politics with a storied financial crisis and intrigue at the highest levels of Washington and Wall Street, Lowenstein brings the beginnings of one of the country s most crucial institutions to vivid and unforgettable life Readers of this gripping historical narrative will wonder whether they re reading about one hundred years ago or the still seething conflicts that mark our discussions of banking and politics today.

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    • Best Read [Roger Lowenstein] ✓ America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve || [Graphic Novels Book] PDF ☆
      328 Roger Lowenstein
    • thumbnail Title: Best Read [Roger Lowenstein] ✓ America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve || [Graphic Novels Book] PDF ☆
      Posted by:Roger Lowenstein
      Published :2018-09-20T08:04:00+00:00

    About "Roger Lowenstein"

      • Roger Lowenstein

        Roger Lowenstein has reported for the Wall Street Journal for than a decade and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times and The New Republic He is the author of Buffet the Making of an American Capitalist HarperCollins


    286 Comments

    1. I am sorry if my review turns into a summary of this book I just love to talk about it.So I gave this book a second read because I was struggling to remember some of its main points and am so happy to refamiliarize myself with the material. It builds a strong argument by starting with what America was like before it centralized its bank. The Revolutionary War ended in 1783 and it wasn't until December 1913 that the Fed Reserve Act passed under President Wilson. During that 130 year period, there [...]


    2. I really was expecting this to be more exciting. It was so dry I finished it four hours ago and I'm still chugging ice water.I will say, though: thank goodness our politicians got together and decided having a central bank was necessary and were able to overcome the typical American resistance to anything federal or centralized or (LOOK AWAY) partly run by the government. Just imagine if we had only created a central bank the same year we came up with Obamacare.It's really quite remarkable that [...]


    3. As a former business major who leans toward the sales and marketing side I was on edge as to whether I really wanted to read a comprehensive historical analysis of the Federal Reserve, an arena that often receives low grades. Throughout the 18th and 19th Century American civilization managed finances without a Federal Reserve System. As America grew and travel expanded gold and silver certificates along with other notes became a popular addition to currency. The constant strain on private and co [...]


    4. This book has some flaws--it's very in the weeds of it all and too little analysis for my taste. However, it's one of the best central bank histories out there and fills a big void in banking history. Hopefully, accounts like this will put to rest the conspiracy theorists, cranks, and gold standard folks out there. The book also redeems Wilson in my view. A flawed president (mostly because he was a white supremacist), he's ultimately responsible for bringing together the divergent views on the f [...]


    5. Too many competing ideologies, too many currencies, fear of federal control etc. etc. Finally Federal Reserve was created after a failed version of national bank.I hardly remember more than a few names from this book, but it was quite informative and helped me understand a little bit about different political forces in the United States. As someone said 'There is no limit to how much you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit', this effort has been a result of many leaders' work an [...]


    6. Many people have strong opinions about the Federal Reserve, despite not having a clear idea of what it is, what it does, how it's structured, or who's in charge. However, even if that describes you, don't feel so bad, because ignorance has been practically a second father to the Fed since the beginning. America's allergy to central banking has endured from the founding, through multiple painful financial crises and recessions, and even through to the relatively peaceful and prosperous present. A [...]


    7. I heard Lowenstein on the New York Times book review podcast and it sounded interesting. I had just finished “Courage to Act” by Ben S. Bernanke and this book seem to fit right into the topic.The book starts in 1787 and follows the topic of the need for a Federal Bank. Alexander Hamilton fought for a central bank but many opposed a strong federal government. Lowenstein goes into detail about President Wilson and his fight for the Federal Reserve and how they passed the “Federal Reserve Act [...]


    8. With all the current chatter about banks and bank bail-outs, Roger Lowenstein's AMERICA'S BANK is a timely read.The book is not for everyone, diving into the deep end of the financial pool as it does, but for those who wonder how America's banking system got to where it is today, the book is highly informative. Mr. Lowenstein presents the decade-long political struggle to re-introduce a federal bank, something that Europeans take for granted but one that was lacking in America for most of its ex [...]


    9. You think our banking system is complex and ridiculous now. A little over 100 years ago, the United States did not have a central bank helping to stabilize and structure our banking system. Crazy! Banks issued their own notes based on their own capital and an odd system of deposits with larger banks to work as some sort of reserve system. If you took your money on a trip, it could devalue as you made your way across the state. And the fall harvest pretty much guaranteed an annual run on the bank [...]


    10. A wonderful narrative history tracing the origins of the creation of the Federal Reserve to the Panic of 1907 and emphasizing the key roles played by Senator Nelson Aldrich and the banker Paul Warburg in creating the concept and William Jennings Bryan, Woodrow Wilson, and Representative Carter Glass in pushing the legislation through Congress. The Federal Reserve System was a progressive reform with conservative roots---and perhaps because of that rather effective.


    11. Definitely a much better read if you already have a working understanding of monetary policy and how central banks work.Some stuff I learned:- The US had 2 central banks in its early history, the second of which was shut down by Andrew Jackson in 1836, who left a lasting impact on American political culture against the idea of central banking (it took >80 years to overcome Jackson's ghost and establish our third and current institution). Much of this weariness about centralization exists in o [...]


    12. By Edward ChancellorThe Federal Reserve’s influence is so pervasive that we cannot imagine a world without it, writes Roger Lowenstein in his new book, “America’s Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve.” Yet Americans have always blown hot and cold about their own central bank.Its first two incarnations were short-lived. President Andrew Jackson shuttered the Second Bank of the United States in 1836 - a move which reflected the public’s distrust of an over-mighty and cen [...]


    13. And epic struggle indeed to create the Fed. America's resistance to central control created instead a system of disparate banks which, come the fall harvest, the farmers would suck dry and trigger a panicked run on the banks - as sure as the turning of the seasons. It was to Europe we had to learn that a central banks makes the kind of sense that pooling water in a firehouse is far better than storing a buck in each household. Creating the Fed was a complicated, detailed affair and Lowenstein ha [...]


    14. The Federal Reserve, in its third form, was established on December 23, 1913. This is a carefully documented account of the mood, ideas and debates affecting its creation. Personally, I enjoyed the detail on its institutional design more than the detail on the surrounding politics. Good book to reference.


    15. A well-written review of how the Federal Reserve came into being. Minus one star for the author's bizarre, unrelated vendetta against Theodore Roosevelt.


    16. Two stars, though this lower ranking is not the fault of the book, which would be perfect for the person looking for the sausage making history that went into the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank - it would be a great book for that. To me, however, it was mildly interesting. I was hoping for a little more in-depth explanation about how and why certain policies were instituted. But this was almost exclusively about the political battle behind the scenes. The bank was finally created, or rathe [...]


    17. “America’s Bank: the epic struggle to create the Federal Reserve,” by Roger Lowenstein (Penguin, 2015). The United States has not always had a central bank that regulated the amount of money and credit in the country. It hated the idea of a central bank. There had been two, and the second was so thoroughly destroyed by Andrew Jackson that nobody even dared to bring up the concept. And so, says Lowenstein, the nation’s economy was wracked by frequent panics and recessions, banks failed, c [...]


    18. You might think that an audiobook about the subject of the formation of a central bank (of sorts) for the United States just over 100 years ago, would put you to sleep so fast that you shouldn't drive or operate heavy machinery while listening to it.But Lowenstein's book works very well, even in an audio format. He presents a very interesting narrative about a topic that is very important to people today. And the principals in it aren't very well known today: Nelson Aldrich, a wealthy Republican [...]


    19. I wanted to like this book more than I did. Going in, I was hoping for one or both of the following:1) A rip-roaring, old-timey political yarn, with lots of cunning and savvy characters hashing out strategies in smokey backrooms.2) A good primer on how the Federal Reserve (and central banks in general) worksI didn't feel especially satisfied on either front. As the subtitle suggests, the book is primarily focused on the first of these goals, to tell the story of the few years in the early 20th c [...]


    20. I had recently read “The Summit,” a book who’s subtitle explains that it is a book about how the Bretton Wood agreement came about to be, and enjoyed it. I read a lot of economics, but not that much economic history of how the sausage is made. Therefore, when I saw that Lowenstein was putting out a book about the founding of the Federal Reserve, I jumped at the chance to read it. It is right up my alley – heck, it should be up everyone’s alley, popular nonfiction about monetary policy [...]


    21. This bit of political and financial history was more interesting and engaging than I expected. I had not known or forgotten that we are in the third and this time expectedly permanent central bank system here in the U.S. The First Bank of the United States, famously pushed for by Alexander Hamilton, the Secretary of the Treasury, lasted 1791–1811and was a present absence in the need to finance the War of 1812. The Second Bank of the United States (1816–1836) which James Madison signed the ch [...]


    22. I was excited to receive an advance readers' copy of Roger Lowenstein's latest book America's Bank: The epic struggle to create the Federal Reserve from Penguin Press. Having read several of his other works, I have come to appreciate Lowenstein's engaging style of financial storytelling.In many respects, America's Bank is like Lowenstein's other books, in that he draws the readers into the events and people making those events happen. The founding of the Federal Reserve Bank is a fascinating sto [...]



    23. Journalists often tell a better story than historians. That's certainly the case with Lowenstein's America's Bank, an engrossing tale of how the Federal Reserve came to be. For those who followed the recent financial crisis, Lowenstein provides a great back story, starting with the decentralized monetary system following the end of the Second Bank of the U.S. where states and individual banks were responsible for issuing money. This system was totally incapable of meeting the needs of a rapidly [...]


    24. First the good news:I tend to like books that teach me something new. I have read several books about the 1870's, 1893,and 1907 financial "panics" but they all seemed to focus on the stock market part of it. This was the first time I was able to see the bigger picture that the stock market crashes were just a result of the bigger problem of a complete credit collapse due to a totally inadequate and third world banking system. Lowenstein did a remarkable job explaining how the pre-Federal Reserve [...]


    25. This meticulously researched and well narrated tale of the founding of the Federal Reserve System in the early 20th century covers a topic that most people would find difficult at best, stultifying at worst. Lowenstein makes the story come alive with the timely use of anecdotal material combined with explanations of the financial system couched mostly in laymen's terms. I was able to understand the forces that combined to make central banking a reality in the US, a country that had a long tradit [...]


    26. The history of the creation of the US Federal Reserve. It gives a good account of how the lack of a central bank both hobbled the US economy as it swelled through industrialization and how the lack of a central reserve triggered an endless cycle of panics and collapses. The bulk of the book describes a decade long political struggle among a number of self-interested individuals to control the direction of legislation for their own ends. I can't judge the veracity of the book because I don't have [...]


    27. Anyone who follows economic and financial news recognizes the pivotal role the Federal Reserve plays in our national economy and as a partner with other nations' central banks. This book explains the extraordinarily improbable creation of the Federal Reserve in the face of vociferous opposition to the creation of a central bank, both from within government circles and the public at large. The book is divided into two parts: the first covering the efforts of key players in banking and Congress to [...]


    28. “I have always been afraid of banks.” Andrew Jackson “I sincerely believe…that banking establishments are more dangerous than standing armies.” Thomas JeffersonThe above quotes show why it took so long for America to have a central banking system. No one wanted to tackle the problem and this book explains the reasons behind the establishment of a banking system that would regulate and establish rules for printing money and creating credit. This is a very dry book and I found it hard to [...]


    29. Journalist Roger Lowenstein tell the story of the creation of the Federal Reserve beginning with Andrew Jackson's termination of the Second Bank of the United States in the early 19th Century. Most of the action took place in the Theodore Roosevelt, Taft and Wilson presidencies. I was struck how the strongest opposition to a central bank came from the people who suffered most from the pre-Federal Reserve system. Farmers and industrial workers suffered the most from the frequent depressions and p [...]


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