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Book review - Maestro, my ass! How we got into this mess: Breaking the Maestro’s baton

Greenspan’s direction belatedly questioned; The flaws of too big to fail

Maestro, my ass! How we got into this mess

When you are the subject of a book entitled Maestro, my ass! How we got into this mess you know that its tone is unlikely to be positive. The fact that the author, Michael Ashton, has only just published this unforgiving rebuttal – nine years after Bob Woodward’s Maestro: Alan Greenspan and the American boom – might strike the subject of this short and sharp paperback as a little unfair. But Ashton insists that he wrote much of his book long ago, finishing the manuscript in 2003 only for his then employer, Barclays Capital, to refuse him permission to publish it. This was an understandable position; Alan Greenspan was then still lauded as an omnipotent central banker responsible for getting the US economy, and therefore the global economy, through the 1987 stock market crash, Mexico/Asian/Russian/LTCM crises, the dotcom crash and 9/11.

As the principal of Ashton Analytics, the author no longer faces any such restrictions and, given a broad volte-face on the merits of Greenspan’s tenure as Federal Reserve chairman between 1987 and 2006, his decision to publish now is certainly justified.

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