The Federal Reserve and the Financial Crisis
By Ben Bernanke
Princeton University Press, 2013, 144 pp.
In March 2012, Bernanke, chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve, delivered a series of four lectures at George Washington University. This short book is the edited transcript of those lectures, including Bernanke’s responses to questions from students. The result is a helpful primer on modern central banking by one of its preeminent practitioners. Bernanke interprets the financial crisis of 2008 and its aftermath, explaining why the Fed responded the way it did. He puts into historical context the steps the Fed has taken in recent years, comparing them to the Fed’s response to the Great Depression of the 1930s and noting that the institution was created precisely to mitigate financial crises, not simply to control inflation.