"A brilliantly wrought, beautifully written life of John Maynard Keynes that wonderfully captures the many dimensions of one of the most captivating intellects of the 20th century."
—LIAQUAT AHAMED, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Lords of Finance
"Timely, lucid, and compelling .... An outstanding authorial debut." -- The Wall Street Journal
"A spectacular new biography .... almost lyrical at times." -- The Washington Post
"Outstanding .... brilliantly incisive." -- The New York Times
"Ingenious." -- The Economist
Thoughtful and sweeping ... Carter gives life to the effortless brilliance, frank appetites, and ethical commitments that made Keynes and Keynesianism so immensely consequential in philosophy, art, money, politics, letters, and war .... A terrific book to read about a fascinating character.
—ERIC RAUCHWAY, author The Money Makers and Winter War
The Price of Peace has the thrilling pace of the best journalism, the analytic heft of the best scholarship, and the gorgeous visual detail of the best movies. It takes in the whole world of Keynes, from the gossip of Cambridge to the ethics and aesthetics of Bloomsbury to the mathematics of probability to the skullduggery of Versailles, and the improbable triumph of the man himself. It's that rare thing in writing: a genuinely cinematic history of ideas.
—COREY ROBIN, author of The Reactionary Mind
The Price of Peace is a towering achievement. Carter blends a nuanced and sophisticated financial history of the 20th century with the intimate personal drama and political upheaval of an epic novel. A masterful biography of a unique and complex social thinker.
—STEPHANIE KELTON, author The Deficit Myth
Zach Carter has given us an important, resonant, and memorable portrait of one of the chief architects of the world we’ve known, and know still. As Richard Nixon observed, we’re all Keynesians now—even if we don’t realize it. Carter’s powerful book will surely fix that.
—JON MEACHAM, Pulitzer Prize-winning author
of Destiny and Power
Making an impressive book debut, journalist Carter offers a sweeping, comprehensive biography .... An absorbing, thoroughly researched life of a singular thinker.
A compassionate and richly detailed exploration .... Carter makes complex economic concepts accessible, and eloquently untangles Keynes’s many personal and professional contradictions. This is an essential portrait of the economist and the man.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Zachary D. Carter is a consultant with the Hewlett Foundation's Economy and Society Initiative. He was previously a Writer in Residence with the Omidyar Network's Reimagining Capitalism initiative, and spent 10 years as a senior reporter at HuffPost, where he covered economic policy and American politics. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The New Republic, The Nation, The American Prospect and other outlets.
Zachary began his career at SNL Financial (now a division of S&P Global), where he was a banking reporter during the financial crisis of 2008. He wrote features about macroeconomic policy, regional economic instability, and the bank bailouts, but his passion was for the complex, arcane world of financial regulatory policy. He covered the accounting standards that both fed the crisis and shielded bank executives from its blowback, detailed the consumer protection abuses that consumed the mortgage business and exposed oversight failures at the Federal Reserve and other government agencies that allowed reckless debts to pile up around the world.
At HuffPost, Zachary covered the implementation of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform law, political standoffs over trade policy and the federal budget, and the fight over the future of the Democratic Party. His feature story, “Swiped: Banks, Merchants and Why Washington Doesn't Work for You” was included in the Columbia Journalism Review’s compilation Best Business Writing.
Zachary graduated from the University of Virginia, where he studied philosophy and politics. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
At the dawn of World War I, a young academic named John Maynard Keynes hastily folded his long legs into the sidecar of his brother-in-law’s motorcycle for a journey to London that would change the course of history. Swept away from his placid home at Cambridge University, Keynes found himself thrust into the halls of European treasuries to arrange emergency loans and packed off to America to negotiate the terms of economic combat. The terror and anxiety unleashed by the war would transform him from a comfortable obscurity into the most influential and controversial intellectual of his day—a man whose ideas still retain the power to shock in our own time.
Keynes was not only an economist but the preeminent anti-authoritarian thinker of the twentieth century, a man who devoted his life to the belief that art and ideas could conquer war and deprivation. As a moral philosopher, political theorist, and statesman, Keynes led an extraordinary life that took him from intimate turn-of-the-century parties in London’s riotous Bloomsbury art scene to the fevered negotiations in Paris that shaped the Treaty of Versailles—from stock market crashes on two continents to diplomatic breakthroughs in the mountains of New Hampshire to wartime ballet openings at London’s extravagant Covent Garden.
Along the way, Keynes reinvented Enlightenment liberalism to meet the harrowing crises of the twentieth century. In the United States, his ideas became the foundation of a burgeoning economics profession, but they also became a flash point in the broader political struggle of the Cold War, as Keynesian acolytes faced off against conservatives in an intellectual battle for the future of the country—and the world. Though many Keynesian ideas survived the struggle, much of the project to which he devoted his life was lost.
In this riveting biography, veteran journalist Zachary D. Carter unearths a forgotten set of ideas about democracy, money, and the good life that carry transformative implications for today’s debates over inequality and the power politics that shape the global order.