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REVIEWS A PROPHET NOT WITHOUT HONOUR' A. F. W. PLUMPTRE John Maynard Keynes was one of the really great men of our times. He has been much misunderstood and much abused. Part of this abuse was deserved-certainly Keynes was nothing if not provocative - but much of it arose from ignorance and vindictiveness. Mr. Harrod's biography will stand as a fair record of his achievements and a just appraisal of his influence- an influence which extended to all Canadian universities and, not least, to the Canadian government at Ottawa. As a schoolboy at Eton and an undergraduate at King's College, Cambridge, Keynes was already remarkable for his ability and diversity. His crystalline mind, his persuasive and provocative tongue, his vivid and often mordant wit, his creative imagination, his capacity for detail, his flair for organization, his wealth of human sympathy and friendship, his unchallengeable integrity, and his unswerving idealism-all these were with him from the beginning. He was the son of a Cambridge don, John Neville Keynes, distinguished in the field of political economy. Maynard's specialty became mathematics but they never engrossed his interest and when the time drew near for his final university examinations he had to tear himself away from his other interests which were chiefly literary and philosophic. His closest undergraduate friends were in these other fields and included Lytton Strachey, Leonard Woolf, Clive Bell-and our own C. R. Fay. After graduating he spent two years as a civil servant in the India Office; then he went back to Cambridge in 1909 first as a lecturer in the newly established faculty of economics and, the following year, as a Fellow of King's College. In this period he laid the groundwork for two books which did not appear until after the war: one on Indian Currency and Finance and another, on the borderlines of mathematics , logic, and philosophy, entitled A Treatise on Probability. When war came, Whitehall had not forgotten him and he was drawn back there, this time into the Treasury. By the end of the war he was, despite his lack of years, the man chiefly in charge of the government's financial relations with other countries-the United States on the one hand and European countries on the other. This heavy administrative task he fulfilled with great success. He went to the Peace Conference *The Life of John Maynard KeJ!nes. By R. F. HARROD. London: Macmillan & Co. Ltd. [Toronto: The Macmillan Company of Canada Limited]. 1951. Pp. xvi, 674. $5.00. 78 REVIEWS 79 as principal representative of the Treasury. From this post he resigned because he was convinced that the Allied demands on Germany were running far beyond, on the one hand, the amounts that could be justified under the terms of the Amllstice and, on the other hand, the capacity of the Germans to provide reparations or the willingness of the rest of the world to receive them in the form of German exports. In short, the proposed treaty was unjust and impracticable and he foresaw the gravest consequences, political and economic, if a serious attempt was made to put it into force. These views he set forth with astonishing effectiveness in The Economic Consequences of the.Peace, published late in 1919. It was the world's first taste of Keynes as a passionate advocate, confident both in the rightness of his analysis and in the righteousness of his cause, his case couched in elegant prose and bolstered with abundant statistics. Up to this point Mr. Harrod's biography carries us most successfully . The story, and it is a fascinating one, is told with sympathy and insight and grace. It is embellished by deft character sketches of Keynes's closer friends and associates; these sketches illumine both the interests and the character of the man himself. Beyond this point, however, the biography is not so completely successful. There are four reasons. First, Mr. Harrod's extended explanations of Keynes's innovations in economic theory seem to fall between two stools; despite their lucidity they are not really brief and simple enough for the layman (perhaps they could not be) and, on the other hand, they are not...


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