Approaching a biography of a life as long, complex, and intertwined with the history of the 20th century as was John Kenneth Galbraith's is an intimidating prospect for any reader, particularly so when one knows that Galbraith's vision of economics and the world is so fundamentally different from one's own. Richard Parker's recent biography, however, is well worth reading despite any such intimidation as he turns Galbraith's life into a remarkably well-written and deeply researched tale of one of the most influential economists of the century. As should any excellent biography, it not only traces the life of the subject but also situates that life in the broader context of events which unfolded during his lifetime. In the case of Galbraith, he was very much a part of those major historical events. The result is a rich and detailed economic and political history of the United States in the 20th century, with Galbraith at the center of it. In addition, Parker offers a history of economics as a discipline, as seen through the eyes of a subject who was at once both the most famous economist of his time and someone whose ideas were frequently deemed not worthy of serious consideration by many in the discipline. Parker brings all of these threads together more or less seamlessly in telling Galbraith's story from the very beginning to pretty much the very end.
Horwitz, S. (2008), " John Kenneth Galbraith The conventional wisdom and the pretense of knowledgeparker's", Samuels, W.J., Biddle, J.E. and Emmett, R.B. (Ed.) A Research Annual (Research in the History of Economic Thought and Methodology, Vol. 26 Part 1), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 255-262. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0743-4154(08)26023-2
Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited