Downloadable Audiobook - 2013
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Amity Shlaes, author of The Forgotten Man, delivers a brilliant and provocative reexamination of America's thirtieth president, Calvin Coolidge, and the decade of unparalleled growth that the nation enjoyed under his leadership. In this riveting biography, Shlaes traces Coolidge's improbable rise from a tiny town in New England to a youth so unpopular he was shut out of college fraternities at Amherst College up through Massachusetts politics. After a divisive period of government excess and corruption, Coolidge restored national trust in Washington and achieved what few other peacetime presidents have: He left office with a federal budget smaller than the one he inherited. A man of calm discipline, he lived by example, renting half of a two-family house for his entire political career rather than compromise his political work by taking on debt. Renowned as a throwback, Coolidge was in fact strikingly modern--an advocate of women's suffrage and a radio pioneer. At once a revision of man and economics, Coolidge gestures to the country we once were and reminds us of qualities we had forgotten and can use today.
Publisher: New York : Harper, c2013.
ISBN: 9780062116093
Branch Call Number: eAUDIO OVERDRI
Characteristics: 1 sound file : digital
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc

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Oct 03, 2013

This book comes with an advance review by Paul Volcker, the former chairman of the US Federal Reserve Board. People who see this and other reviews will correctly think it leans strongly towards a narrative of Coolidge's economic policies. They may be disappointed, though, if they are expecting an analysis of rival doctrines. Coolidge favoured the gold standard and did not agree with bimetallism, but Ms. Shlaes doesn't choose between one and the other. He and his Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon introduced what we would now recognize as supply side economics to American finances but there is never any mention in the book of the Laffer Curve. This is not to criticize the book but just to say what kind of book it is. Foreign policy gets the same kind of treatment but in much less detail. The Coolidge years were incredibly busy in all kinds of ways and it would be impossible in a one-volume study to cover everything. There was never any period that saw so much creative activity in price index number theory before or since. Konus developed the theory of the cost-of-living index in 1924 in the Soviet Union and of course Coolidge can take no credit for that. But the same year O.L. Stine and Louis Bean published the most important paper that ever will be written on the subject of seasonal goods in price indexes, a study of four kinds of agricultural price indexes. They were both agricultural economists working in the US Department of Agriculture in the administration of Calvin Coolidge.


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