“America’s Bank” by Roger Lowenstein tells how our Federal Reserve system came into being. At the start of the 20th century, the U.S. was the world’s sole industrialized nation to lack a central banking system. In this unregulated banking system, says Lowenstein, local banks often overextended their deposits and issued undervalued bank notes, resulting in bad credit, bank failures and full-on depressions. Despite this, the idea of a central bank was resisted by many Americans. But after the bank panic of 1907, interest in a national banking system gained momentum. Lowenstein details the debates and trade-offs that led to the creation of Federal Reserve System (1913), which sets interest rates and monetary policy. This is a “ tour de force of historical reportage.” Another MVSB Book of the Month
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Quotable“The precise role of the artist is to illuminate that darkness, so that we will not, in all our doing, lose sight of our purpose, which is to make the world a more human dwelling place.” James Baldwin