Greenspan: The Man Behind Money

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9780738205243: Greenspan: The Man Behind Money

Greenspan: The Man Behind Money presents the famous Fed Chairman as few know him. It spans his hardscrabble childhood in Depression-era New York City, his fascinating decades-long friendship with controversial author Ayn Rand, his Juilliard education and days spent touring with Henry Jerome's jazz band, as well as two marriages, a dynamic D.C. social life, and service to six U.S. presidents. Based on unprecedented access to Greenspan's family members and peers, including Henry Kissinger, Gerald Ford, and Milton Friedman, Greenspan: The Man Behind Money is the only book to shed real light on one of the most private public figures of our time.

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Review:

Alan Greenspan became chairman of the Federal Reserve a scant two months before the stock market crash of 1987. His deft handling of that crisis presaged his triumph in the 1990s, when he kept America from succumbing to the Asian financial flu, and received as much credit for the nation's booming economy as President Clinton. At appropriate points in this solid biography, former Fortune magazine staffer Justin Martin lucidly explains the intricacies of the financial system that Greenspan has dominated for 13 years. But the more fascinating revelations deal with the enigmatic Fed chairman's private life. Born in 1926, Greenspan was a Juilliard student and professional jazz musician before he entered New York University's School of Commerce in 1945. Novelist-philosopher Ayn Rand had a powerful influence on his economic thinking, and Greenspan spent 15 years as a member of her inner circle while he built a successful consulting practice. He made a few slips at the Fed, particularly when he failed to prevent the recession of 1990-91; but Martin shows him learning from his mistakes. Judicious quotes from interviews with colleagues and friends convey Greenspan's intriguing contradictions: aloof, yet collegial at work; deliberately obscure when testifying before Congress, but judged a fascinating conversationalist by the women he's dated, most of whom have been journalists. (He married NBC correspondent Andrea Mitchell in 1997.) Is the secretive Chairman Greenspan secretly a media hound? In this instance, and many others, Martin's evenhanded portrait lays out opposing views and lets readers draw their own conclusions. --Wendy Smith

About the Author:

Justin Martin is a former staff writer at Fortune magazine whose work has also appeared in Newsweek, Worth, Travel & Leisure, and ESPN magazines. He lives in New York City.

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