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John Maynard Keynes

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John Maynard Keynes

1883 - 1946: Economist, Philosopher, Statesman


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What's inside?

The definitive biography of John Maynard Keynes, one of the 20th century’s most pivotal financial figures.

Editorial Rating



  • Comprehensive
  • Innovative
  • Engaging


This tome (including more than 100 pages of notes and indices) is an abridgment of author Robert Skidelsky’s original three-volume biography of John Maynard Keynes. It is in all respects an extraordinary work. The author offers a portrait of Keynes not only as an economist but also as a philosopher and a statesman. He does not segregate these three dimensions, but rather shows how they interpenetrate and inform each other. He sets Keynes in the context of his time and circumstances. Skidelsky is unsparing in his treatment of the inconsistencies and contradictions in Keynes’ life and character, but he is fair and balanced; he avoids sensationalism even in the treatment of the sensational. getAbstract finds that this book merits multiple readings and should intrigue not only economists but also anyone interested in the ideas and events of the 20th century.


Early Years

John Maynard Keynes was born on June 5, 1883. His father was John Neville Keynes, son of John Keynes, a self-made man who had turned a brush-making enterprise into a prosperous manufacturing business and then made a fortune in flowers. Neville was an only son by his father’s second wife – the first having succumbed to cholera. He entered Cambridge in 1872 on a mathematical scholarship, though he eventually moved to moral sciences. In 1875, he was first in his class. Neville studied economics and later wrote two books on the subject. He lectured at several colleges, including the women’s residence halls at Cambridge, which had only recently begun admitting women. While lecturing, Neville met Florence Ada Brown, daughter of a scholarly nonconformist clergyman. They married in 1882.

John Maynard was their first child. His sister Margaret was born in 1885, his brother Geoffrey in 1887. The parents favored John, perhaps inordinately. (This disparity took a toll on Geoffrey, who achieved great success as a surgeon, but nonetheless felt pained by this well into adulthood.) While still a child, John Maynard participated in discussions with his father’s learned...

About the Author

Robert Skidelsky is the author of a critically acclaimed, three-volume biography of Keynes.

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