Lords of Finance: 1929, The Great Depression, and the Bankers Who Broke the World
A biography-led treatment of the Great Depression, differing substantially from the more traditional histories led by events.
The biographies are indeed fascinating, both those of the four protagonists (central bankers in the US, Germany, France, and the UK), but also of some of the bit-players. Of the main characters, I was only previously aware of Hjalmar Schact, and then only of his involvement with the Nazis: his pivotal role in the Depression really sets the scene for his later mischief-making.
I think it probably helps that the author is a former banker: he locks-in on the financially significant events whose importance might elude a less specialised historian. This wouldn't be my first choice as a financial history, but it certainly complements other better-known versions like JK Galbraith's The Great Crash of 1929.
4/5. Finished 09 August 2014.
(Originally published on Goodreads.)