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From the bestselling and award-winning author of ‘An English Affair’, a dazzlingly original thematic biography which throws fresh light on the greatest economist of the twentieth century.
John Maynard Keynes saved Britain from financial crisis twice over the course of two World Wars, and instructed Western industrialised states on how to protect themselves from revolutionary unrest, economic instability, high unemployment and social dissolution. In the wake of the recent global financial crisis, economists worldwide have once again turned to his ideas to confront their problems.
In this entertaining and edifying new biography, Richard Davenport-Hines introduces the man behind the economics; a connoisseur, intellectual, economist, administrator and statesman who was equally at ease socialising with the Bloomsbury Group as he was when influencing the policies of Presidents.
By exploring the desires and experiences that made Keynes think as he did, or compelled him to innovate, Davenport-Hines reveals the aesthetic basis of Keynesian economics, and explores why this Great Briton’s ideas continue to instruct and encourage us seventy years after his death.
‘Succinct, lively and well-written biography … Done with great panache, in a volume that will introduce Keynes and his strange world to a new generation of readers’ Evening Standard
‘An amusing, elegant and provocative writer … great fun. By focusing on Keynes as a private man and public figure rather than an academic economist, it is possible to see him as the last and greatest flowering of Edwardian Liberalism’ Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times
‘Daringly but sensibly, this renowned biographer, Davenport-Hines, has studied Keynes from seven points of view – not one of them as an economist … a rewarding and fascinating book’ Daily Mail
‘A treat… We read endlessly about Keynes the economist. But he was so much more and this unputdownable book explores the man’ Independent
‘Treating Keynes’s lives as interesting and valuable for their own sake gives them extra vividness … With a keen eye for telling detail and social connections, Davenport-Hines brilliantly conveys what one might call the peripheral atmospherics of Keynes’s existence … Done with grace and insight’ Robert Skidelsky, Observer
‘This thoughtful biography does justice both to Keynes’s idiosyncrasies and to his influence … with wit and grace, as well as a good deal of scholarly digging … incisive and thoughtful … The book conveys its own vision of this wholly extraordinary and undeniably idiosyncratic figure with persuasive artistry and conviction’ Financial Times
‘[A] first-class book, which I cannot praise highly enough … This admirable book does Keynes justice’ Literary Review
‘Worthy of its brilliant subject, ‘Universal Man’ manages to expound Keynes’s ideas while shining with his own optimistic spirit. Lively, funny, original, and beautifully written’ A. N. Wilson
‘Davenport-Hines heroically styles [Keynes] in this affectionate and occasionally delicious general biography …refreshingly unsanctimonious’ TLS
‘A rich story, brilliantly told’, Paul Johnson, The Spectator, Books of the Year