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The Federal Reserve System: A History of the First 75 Years.

Writing a history of the Federal Reserve is a daunting task. Previous attempts generally have explored policies of the Fed for specific periods: policies up to and during the Great Depression, the war years, or the immediate post-war experience. How then can one cover the entire 75 years in a book of only 266

pages? The answer in this case is superficially.

The 169 pages that actually form the body of the text provides a fast ride through 75 tumultuous years of Fed activity. Moore, a retired vice president of the San Antonio branch of the Dallas Fed, gives the reader a staccato glimpse of Fed actions and the atmosphere in which they were made. For example, in the 14 page chapter covering the period 1970-79, 16 different subheadings comprise the discussion. Some of these seem needless discussion of trivial material. For example, one subheading, "More Buildings Needed," covers the fact that the Federal Reserve System's officer count had risen from 558 to 716 during the decade of the seventies and that the Board of Governors moved into their new home, the Martin Building, on November 19, 1974.

This book will not lead to any reappraisal of the Fed's role in determining economic activity during the past 75 years. Nor does it provide any new insights to how and why policy is set the way it is. These are not the goals of the book. In that light, this book may serve as a useful primer for undergraduates on how the Fed came about and what it has been up for the past three-quarters of a century. Its readability and brevity provides a diversion from the usual macroeconomic or money and banking textbook. In addition, the extensive appendixes, accounting for about a third of the book's length, provide a variety of data about the Federal Reserve and a complete reprint of the Federal Reserve Act.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Southern Economic Association
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1992, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Hafer, R.W.
Publication:Southern Economic Journal
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 1992
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