Last Updated Mar 11, 2008 9:46 AM EDT
Friedman shows what part of the subprime mortgage crisis should not fall on Greenspan's shoulders (keeping interest rates too low) and what part should (failing to regulate the increasingly questionable practices in mortgage lending). He does it by putting Greenspan's entire career in context. He shows us some of the man's impressive flexibility, his personality and the areas where he strayed from brilliance. He is also able to flag inconsistencies in Greenspan's framework. In particular, Greenspan claims to dislike government intervention in markets, but frequently did intervene. As Friedman puts it, "Greenspan and his colleagues treated financial markets more as delicate flowers requiring careful attention and nursing.
Friedman brings perspective to Greenspan's book that almost no non-economist could bring, and does it in a way that any non-economist can read. Mostly, he respects and admires Greenspan. But there is a clear difference between admiration and veneration.