Review: Skidelsky’s John Maynard Keynes: Hopes Betrayed

John Maynard Keynes: Volume 1: Hopes Betrayed 1883-1920
Robert Skidelsky

The first volume of Skidelsky’s three volume telling of the life of the man who is arguably the 20th century’s most famous economist.* This covers birth and all that crap, and then the very juicy years of JMK at Cambridge. Besides his economic work (talked about more here) Keyenes was a pretty interesting, and fucked up individual. He was an unrepentant racist, at least for a time a self identified homosexual, and an endlessly curious man who thought he was smarter than everyone else in the room (and on many occasions, including the peace negations at Versaille, probably was). He was close with Virginia Wolff and that crowd in these days, though he and they would distance from each other in the coming years, as JMK’s political success made him less attractive to the literati. There’s a one volume abridgement of Skidlesky’s work, and if you’re interested in Keynes, I imagine that one is more than enough to satiate you curiosity, but if not, I think this volume, which covers more Keynes development as a contradictory, often dislikable and totally fascinating individual is the better of the two volumes I read.

*Actually, I wonder who is the twentieth century’s most famous economists. I know few people are reading this, but if you are, leave a comment with who you think is the 20th century’s most famous economist or who your favorite 20th century economist is. (Kaptial, mind you, was published in the 1860s and the Wealthy of Nations in the 1770s so Marx and Adam Smith don’t count).

Recommended for the enthusiast.

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