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Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country Paperback – January 15, 1989


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 800 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster; Reprint edition (January 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671675567
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671675561
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.2 x 1.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this penetrating study of the Federal Reserve Board in the Reagan era, Rolling Stone writer Greider (The Education of David Stockman) views the "Fed" chairman (until recently Paul Volcker) as the "second most powerful" officer of government, the high priest of a temple as mysterious as money itself, its processes unknown to the public and yet to be fully understood by any modern president. Controlling the money supply by secretly buying and selling government bonds and thus affecting interest rates, the Fed can manipulate billions in business profits or losses and millions in worker employment and stock, bond or bank account values, the author explains. Greider's conclusions are startling at times. The Fed, he maintains, could have prevented the 1929 crash. He also asserts the "awkward little secret" that the federal government deliberately induces recessions, usually to bring down inflation and interest rates. A time-consuming but extremely informative read.
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

The recent retirement of Paul Volcker as chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System seems an appropriate time to look at the man and at the system itself. William R. Neikirk's Volcker ( LJ 10/15/87) brought out the subject's personality, convictions, and modus operandi. Greider ( The Education of David Stockman, LJ 10/15/82) touches on these characteristics, but focuses on the system's influence on world economy. Greider throws much light on how our nation's unelected managers of monetary policy make day-to-day decisions. A very readable narrative, recommended for academic and public libraries. M. Balachandran, Univ. of Illinois Lib., Urbana-Champaign
Copyright 1987 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

William Greider is the bestselling author of five previous books, including One World, Ready or Not (on the global economy), Who Will Tell the People (on American politics), and Secrets of the Temple (on the Federal Reserve). A reporter for forty years, he has written for The Washington Post and Rolling Stone and has been an on-air correspondent for six Frontline documentaries on PBS. Currently the national affairs correspondent for The Nation, he lives in Washington, D.C.

Customer Reviews

If you're reading this, you need to pick up the book.
Douglas Doepke
There are some serious problems with this view, which Greider doesn't bother to address.
ConsDemo
Greider is highly critical of Volker's performance as Fed chairman.
T. Graczewski

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

175 of 180 people found the following review helpful By T. Graczewski VINE VOICE on November 11, 2002
Format: Paperback
One might think of William Greider's "Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country" as "Central Banking for Poets." If you've ever scratched your head in wonder when reading how Alan Greenspan and the Fed have "lowered interest rates" or are "easing monetary policy," this book will be extremely enlightening and well worth the time it will take you to plow through all 700 plus pages. If (like me) you majored in economics, you'll be surprised how much better Greider is in explaining arcane economic theory than your college professors (and you'll probably learn -- or re-learn -- quite a bit in the process).
The focal point of the book is the celebrated and controversial tenure of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker (1979-1987), but the mechanics of central banking so clearly and concisely explained are just as much applicable today as in 1980 - or 1950 for that matter.
Greider divides the book into three more-or-less equal thirds. The first covers the inflationary surge of the 1970s, Carter's tenuous decision to appoint Volker, and Volker's radical move of abandoning the control of interest rates in favor of controlling the nation's money supply. (In other words, a shift from the Keynesian orthodoxy dominant in the post-War period in favor of a monetarist approach more in line with the theories of the iconoclastic economist Milton Friedman.) The second, and most informative third provides an historical overview of central banking and its development in the United States. For those solely interested in a better understanding of central banking and the US Federal Reserve in particular, this book will be worth your while even if you only read this middle section.
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80 of 85 people found the following review helpful By W. Gruenwald on July 2, 2000
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
While this book dismisses in one paragraph the idea that the Federal Reserve System was born of a conspiracy, it than goes on for over 700 pages to describe in fascinating detail the operation of, what must surely be the most sinister conspiracy ever hoisted upon mankind, the Federal Reserve System. The author is not a conspiracy theory kook or a John Birch society member, but rather an ex Editor of the Washington Post. The book is endorsed by Ted Kennedy, The Washington Post, and the NY Times, all noted for their liberal bent. It is not a politically motivated book but rather a shocking expose of the organization of banks that controls our economy and the worlds. Instead of "and that government of the people, by the people and for the people", the Federal Reserve system has made it "government of the banks, by the banks, and for the banks shall not perish from the earth". It is clear from reading this book that our economy and the world's economy is controlled by a handful of very powerful bankers. Our President and Congress have abdicated all responsibility via the Federal Reserve act of 1914. As Meyer Rothschild, Europe's premier Central Banker, said, "Give me control of the issue and value of money and I care not who makes the laws". Our government has no say whatsoever in the direction our economy is taking or for that matter how much of our money (printed by the Fed) is loaned to foreign countries. The banks have complete freedom to loan whatever amounts they choose to whichever countries they choose. If the interest on the loans cannot be repaid, they simply have the Fed print more money to loan enough to pay the interest.Read more ›
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65 of 69 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
I'm not going to recap the book contents; others, who have read the book more recently, can do a better job of that. I will tell you, instead, about its long term impact.
It's been probably fourteen years since I read _Secrets_of_the_Temple_ and it still haunts me as one of the most important, most influential books I've read in my 46 years of life.
The common beliefs that the Fed is near infallible, that it always knows what it is doing when it takes action, and that 80 years since the last Depression is proof that the Central Bank will always pull us through are more mistaken than most people would believe. Reading the history of Central Banking will open your eyes considerably, I think. Oh, yes, and this book is actually a pleasure to read -- it's that smoothly written.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
Greider presents a lively overview of the Federal Reserve System, illustrating its role in the global economy, and the global interests it serves. Greider presents a fascinating history of the Fed and banking system from the Populist uprising of the late 19th century to the global finance system we live in now. The book shows the truly immense power weilded by the Fed. EVERY AMERICAN SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!
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200 of 248 people found the following review helpful By Mike Phillips on June 30, 2005
Format: Paperback
Here is a quick overview of how I figured out the monetary system to the point of being confident that my understanding is reasonably correct and being able to explain the basic scam in about 45 minutes.

First I became convinced that if I am ever going to understand how the world works I should probably figure out an answer to the question "what is money?" Surprisingly, a search on Amazon.com did not return very many books on the topic. Like any good college educated liberal I chose the one book which garnered praise from all my favorite trusted sources such as the New York Times and the Washington Post. I didn't see how I could possibly go wrong spending $12.92 for the 800 page book "Secrets from the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country", which The Nation said, "May be the most important political book of the decade."

Unfortunately, after reading William Greider's 10 year, day by day account of Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volker's back and forth decisions on raising and lowering interest rates, I still did not have the foggiest clue as to what money is or how it is created. I'm sure most people would have given up at this point but I was not ready to throw in the towel. For some reason I was not convinced by the book's conclusion that it was critically important to maintain the money mystery because "Taboos uncoded lost their power to persuade...The mystery was necessary, therefore, to sustain social faith. Knowledge was disturbing. Not knowing the secrets was reassuring."

I needed another book, however the only ones that the New York Times seemed to recommend were all described as condensed versions of "Secrets of the Temple.
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