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JSPES, Vol. 39, No. 4 (Winter 2014)
pp. 494–521

A Preeminent Book on the Financial Crisis: Timothy F. Geithner’s Memoir as Secretary of the Treasury

Dwight D. Murphey

Wichita State University, retired

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises Timothy F. Geithner, Crown Publishers, 2014

Timothy F. Geithner served as the United States’ Secretary of the Treasury during Barack Obama’s first term as president. Before that, Geithner was president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, the leading bank in the Federal Reserve system. Together with Henry Paulson, Jr., who preceding him in the Treasury position, and Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, Geithner was at the heart of the U.S. government’s response to the financial crisis that began in 2007 and picked up steam in 2008. That makes his memoir Stress Test one of the preeminent books on the crisis. The article here will examine that book and the many issues it raises, foremost among which are Geithner’s conviction that governments and central banks must consider their policies controlled by the threat of financial panic and that, accordingly, few strings should be attached to any bailout. His views are compared with those of several other authorities.