From Publishers Weekly
This richly detailed, fascinating history of a professional life virtually defines a bygone ideal of public service. When Martin was appointed to the board of governors of the Federal Reserve System by President Harry Truman in 1951, the Fed had lost much of its credibility, says former World Bank executive Bremner. Martin, a self-effacing but strong-willed manager who had introduced long-needed reforms at the New York Stock Exchange between 1938 and 1941, appreciated that the Fed's effectiveness depended crucially on gaining White House and congressional allies, on boosting the professional level of research and on regaining the confidence of the banking industry. Through meticulous research deftly presented, Bremner shows that Martin's persistence, calm and forthrightness gained new respect for the Fed; his dogged efforts over nearly 20 years re-established a central role for monetary policy in U.S. economic planning. Despite being a dedicated inflation fighter throughout his tenure (his motto was: "A sound currency is coined freedom"), a disastrously disruptive, Vietnam-related inflation he had long forecast was on the horizon at the time he retired in 1970. If Martin thus felt a sense of failure as he left the Fed, Bremner's book justly celebrates the invaluable, long-lasting effects of his overarching plan to establish the Fed's function in coordinated economic policy making.
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“Creation of the modern Federal Reserve System is, to a very considerable extent, the work of William McChesney Martin, Jr. Robert Bremner’s book brings out the character, conviction, courage, and collegiality that Martin brought to this historic achievement.” -Allan H Meltzer, author of A History of the Federal Reserve and Professor of Political Economy, Carnegie Mellon University
"Whatever your definition of a 'great american,' Bill Martin meets it. He passed effortlessly from floor broker on the NYSE to its first professional paid president, became the only Wall Streeter to enter the Army as a private in World War II, [helped] negotiate the end of lend lease with Russia, created while Assistant Secretary of the Treasury, the document that established the independence of the Federal Reserve System, then served 18 years as the Fed's Chairman, playing tennis just about every day. A one-of-a-kind narrative."— Martin Mayer, author of The Fed: The Inside Story of How the World’s Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives the Markets