cover image Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World

Adam Tooze. Viking, $35 (720p) ISBN 978-0-670-02493-3

Columbia history professor Tooze (The Deluge) recounts and analyzes the continuing repercussions of the 2008 economic crisis in this dense, but accessible, book. Although he presents more information than most readers will require (including a chart titled, “Demand for Dollar Funding in the European Central Bank’s One-Month Auctions”), Tooze makes the arcana of international economic policy relevant to a lay audience by framing his account with Donald Trump’s political ascension. He walks through the significant financial crises of the previous 10 years, not neglecting those possibly less familiar to Americans than Lehman Brothers’ collapse, such as the debt crisis in Greece and Ireland. Tooze amasses telling details from the bailout of the big banks (for instance, that they more than doubled their funding advantage relative to small banks after the crisis) to bolster his contention that Trump’s surprise electoral victory was rooted in the U.S. government’s response to the 2008 meltdown. Those government policies gave “absolute priority to saving the financial system” and disregarded “the arrow of causation,” reshaping American politics and setting the stage for a populist backlash. In addition to making international economics understandable and attention grabbing, Tooze has written an essential addition to the ranks of histories that place Trumpism in context. (Aug.)