Economics & Finance

A Monetary History of the United States, 1867-1960

“Magisterial. . . . The direct and indirect influence of the Monetary History would be difficult to overstate.”—Ben S. Bernanke, Nobel Prize–winning economist and former chair of the U.S. Federal Reserve

From Nobel Prize–winning economist Milton Friedman and his celebrated colleague Anna Jacobson Schwartz, one of the most important economics books of the twentieth century—the landmark work that rewrote the story of the Great Depression and the understanding of monetary policy


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Sep 2, 2008
Economics & Finance
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Milton Friedman and Anna Jacobson Schwartz’s A Monetary History of the United States, 1867–1960 is one of the most influential economics books of the twentieth century. A landmark achievement, it marshaled massive historical data and sharp analytics to argue that monetary policy—steady control of the money supply—matters profoundly in the management of the nation’s economy, especially in navigating serious economic fluctuations.

One of the book’s most important chapters, “The Great Contraction, 1929–33” addressed the central economic event of the twentieth century, the Great Depression. Friedman and Schwartz argued that the Federal Reserve could have stemmed the severity of the Depression, but failed to exercise its role of managing the monetary system and countering banking panics. The book served as a clarion call to the monetarist school of thought by emphasizing the importance of the money supply in the functioning of the economy—an idea that has come to shape the actions of central banks worldwide.