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John Maynard Keynes: Volume 1: Hopes Betrayed 1883-1920 Paperback – January 1, 1994

4.6 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the John Maynard Keynes Series

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Product Details

  • Series: John Maynard Keynes (Book 1)
  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Books (January 1, 1994)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 014023554X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140235548
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,119,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Robert Skidelsky provides a punctilious account of the most influential economist of the 20th century and the intellectual and social milieu's that shaped him. Keynes is easily the most recognizable name in 20th century economics, followed somewhat closely by John Kenneth Galbraith and Milton Friedman.
In the book's preface, Skidelsky claims he was the first biographer to attempt to go into detail about Keynes' hitherto undiscussed homosexual relationships. The most notable and emotionally involved of these affairs occured with painter and fellow Bloomsbury member Duncan Grant. Skidelsky confirms that Keynes also slept with Bloomsbury biographer Lytton Strachey. Several corresponding letters between Keynes and Strachey not only confirm this, but a subsequent sexual rivalry over the affections of Grant. G.E. Moore's 'Principia Ethica' unquestionably wrought out a strong influence on Keynes and Strachey's radical sexual attitudes after they had read it. Some unfastidious anti-Keynesians have tried to tie in Keynes' early predispositions to homosexuality (he later in life married a Russian Ballet dancer named Lydia Lopokova) with his rejection of the gold standard. This probably isn't a valid argument, given the level of abstraction Keynes' mind reached at an early age to develop and entertain such unorthadox methods.
Keynesian economics has been repudiated by many laissez-faire proponents over the past two decades. The most well reasoned of these critiques have come from Friedman and Robert Lucas; who have each received Nobel Prizes for their work. Notwithstanding, both pale in comparison with the impact Keynesianism has had on post-WW2 macroeconomics.
Whether or not you're an unyeilding Keynesian or a free market capitalist, you'll find it impossible not to marvel at this remarkable biography of a remarkable man. Keynes should be included at the top of anyone's list of the 20th century's most important intellectuals.
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Format: Paperback
Somebody, probably in The Economist, once wondered why Keynes had not achieved the cult status of a Freud or Einstein. This book will just let those people inclined to wonder so sink even deeper in contempt for posterity, cause Keynes had it all, the intellectual power, the social brilliance (and a decidedly wicked private life in the Bloomsbury circles), and the conscience of a mission to be accomplished, quite simply to save civilisation...
Skidelsky's talent as a biographer is beyond praise.
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Format: Paperback
John Maynard Keynes' life faithfully portrayed by Robert Skidelsky, is a life of a man grown up amidst the intelectual aristocracy of his time, which coincided with the beginning of the downfall of the Victorian age and was to culminate in the First World War. His father John Neville Keynes was a famous economist of his time and had many other intelectual atributes which he didn't want to put up to test in the academic arena, despite a lot of incentives by the famous economist Alfred Marshall, the most proeminent thinker of the neo-classics school of thought. Neville Keynes was determined instead to follow closely and have influence upon the professional careers of his most inteligent son. To anyone who whished to compare this situation to the education the philosopher James Mill gave to his son John Stuart Mill, I would warn he/she to be cautious cause the result is very much different than could be foresaw.
What the book shows is the fascinating formative years of one of the most influential men of all times, who had a strong appetite for getting all the knowledge he could get and who didn't hide behind his geniality. Quite to the contrary, Keynes was up for everything he could grab, be it different sexual male partners, a lot of trips to Italy and a lot of academic prizes, estimulated by the spirit of competion his father tried to assert on him, at the end to no avail. Also, the pace of his intelectual output is outstanding, being Keynes almost always pushed to the limit to do a lot of different things at the same time.
Some crude aspects of Keynes sexual life are also all there via the transcriptions of the many letters he exchanged with his male lovers and friends of the many different intelectual cycles he was part of.
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Format: Paperback
Hopes betrayed is an exceptionally well researched and insightful book. The author goes into detail, and confirms previously unspoken truths about Keynes early life. It pays particular attention to Keynes homosexuality, such as his long held affections for Duncan Grant, and also his relationships, coiteries, and philosophies. Personally I found the chapters deailing Keynes' influence in the war most interesting.
Although the book goes into ample detail, it is a little dry, and possibly lacks a little life. One sometimes feels as if there are a few too many quotes, names and places. This somewhat detracts from the interest of the book.
However, overall anyone who is curious as to what made father of modern economics ought to read this book.
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Format: Paperback
This profoundly researched and uncensored (sexually speaking) biography gives us a fascinating look into a highly privileged group of people in England when the British Empire was at its zenith. Half (sic) of the world's trade was financed by British credits in 1914.
It pictures the education of young Keynes, groomed by his parents for the highest civil duties, his acceptance in the exclusive Cambridge Apostles Circle (a main discussion point was Higher Sodomy) and his membership of the, in all aspects, anarchic Bloomsbury group. It shows without restaint Keynes' (homo)sexual awakening and his conventional (based on the Gold Standard) beginnings as an economist.
In the meantime, this book reveals the functioning of the British elitist School system (Eton, Cambridge) as well as the 'moral' environment of this period: the death of God and the birth of mass democracy.
Prof. Skidelsky's book contains a wealth of information on e.g. the conservative reasoning behind the Gold Standard, Utilitarianism or Moore's essentialistic, but influential, ethic system.
He shows us Keynes as a fundamental nationalist: 'it is better to have Englishmen running the world than foreigners'.
But nothwithstanding his exhausting efforts, he saw Britain and mainland Europe sinking under the war debts and being taken over by the US as world power, which was effectively controlled by one man, J.P. Morgan.
He attacked severely the Versailles Treaty but was devastated that politicians preferred suicidal short-time revenge and election success rather than long-time beneficial solutions.
This book is sometimes too detailed with extensive letter excerpts. Nonetheless, it is a fascinating read.
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