John Kenneth Galbraith (1908-2006) was one of America’s most famous economists for good reason. From his acerbic analysis of America’s “private wealth and public squalor” to his denunciation of the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, Galbraith consistently challenged “conventional wisdom” (a phrase he coined). He did so as a witty commentator on America’s political follies and as a versatile author of bestselling books—such as The Affluent Society and The New Industrial State—that warn of the dangers of deregulated markets, corporate greed, and inattention to the costs of our military power. Here, in the first full-length biography of Galbraith and his times, Richard Parker provides not only a nuanced portrait of this extraordinary man, but also an important reinterpretation of twentieth-century public policy and economic practices.
“Whatever you may think of his ideas, John Kenneth Galbraith has led an extraordinary life. . . . Doing justice to this life story requires an outsize biography, one that not only tells Mr. Galbraith’s tale but sets it on the broader canvas of America’s political and economic evolution. And Richard Parker’s book does just that.”—Economist
“Parker’s book is more than a chronicle of Galbraith’s life; it’s a history of American politics and policy from FDR through George W. Bush. . . . It will make readers more economically and politically aware.”—USA Today
“The most readable and instructive biography of the century.”—William F. Buckley, National Review
“The story of this man’s life and work is wonderfully rendered in this magnum opus, and offers an antidote to the public ennui, economic cruelty, and government malfeasance that poison life in America today.”—James Carroll, Boston Globe