I returned to and finished this book on audible -- driving about the local streets -- to and from work -- and driving the kids hither & thither... what it lacks as a book (and my opinion about the issue of reparations has not been changed by L.A.'s arguments) -- that it is somewhat shallow qua analysis -- it gains as an audible -- in that it is very strong on narrative.
The result is that the author often strives for effect, rather than truth -- there is a rhetorical element, common to many books, of course. At any rate, I'm glad I finished it, as it fills in many of the blanks.
(I've lost interest -- the book is second-rate. The hedge fund guys thinking they're historians... because they can spot a trend. Good reading for those with the time to spare)
I've lowered my rating. This book is good, and got off to a rousing start. Well-written, fascinating... and it is certainly informative. For anyone looking for a good book on the Depression, and real page-turner (not kidding), this might be it. But then I got to chapter 7, and Ahamed's discussion of the Weimar inflation. It is awful. It seems to be contaminating by the writings of Niall Ferguson, that arch-reactionary who argued, in Pity of War, that the Great War was Britain's fault (not Germany's), and Ahamed blames the inflation on reparations, which is bunk.
This view was debunked by both Jens Parsson (http://mises.org/web/4017 a tremendously good book) AND Bresciani-Turroni (http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=23309569). The reparations had NOTHING to do with the inflation, and the claim that it did was due to ultra-nationalist German propaganda -- meaning everyone to the right of Rosa Luxemburg.... (If anybody REALLY wants to know about this issue, email me and I'll forward some notes on the topic....)
The fact is, contrary to popular myth, Versailles was too mild. Proof? 1939-1945. Had the Entente pressed on for another two weeks after November 11th, the German experiment in unification would have ended then and there.
Chapter 8, which deals with the US handling of the Allied war debts -- another sorry chapter in our history -- is much better, though by now it has become clear to me that the author's knowledge is second-hand, and not free of Neoclassical conventions....
The book, at any rate, was finished during the current market crisis, and the author is informed. He is a money manger, not an academic -- which is, in part, a plus.
I do expect to keep at it, and to finish this book -- deo volente