cover image Greenspan: The Man Behind Money

Greenspan: The Man Behind Money

Justin Martin, Author Perseus Books Group $28 (284p) ISBN 978-0-7382-0275-4

Written without the cooperation of Federal Reserve chief Greenspan, and in the absence of much documentation about his early life, this attempt at a definitive biography fails to bring its subject to life. Working from public records and interviews with Greenspan's former associates, Martin recounts the chairman's childhood in the Washington Heights section of Manhattan in the 1930s and '40s, where his passions were musicDhe played the saxophone and clarinetDand numbers. Accepted into Juilliard after high school, the restless Greenspan left school after a term to tour with a small swing band in 1943 and '44 before returning to New York to study economics at NYU and Columbia. A fierce debater lured by economic theory, Greenspan became a favored member of Ayn Rand's Objectivist circle, while building a well-respected economics consulting firm. A chance re-encounter with an old friend brought him to the attention of Richard Nixon, who was working as a lawyer between presidential bids. Although he worked for Presidents Nixon and Ford, it wasn't until Reagan appointed him to his current position in 1987 that Greenspan's tenure as ""an unflappable economist with a gift for calming markets"" brought him into the spotlight. Martin, a journalist formerly with Fortune, is strongest in describing Greenspan's public achievements. In his attempt to expose ""the man behind the money,"" however, he fails to move beyond cardboard characterizations and reconstructed media perceptions. Agent, Lisa Swayne. (Nov. 1)