by Mallaby, Sebastian
Publisher:Penguin Press HC, The
Unstoppable force, meet immovable object. Scene: the World Bank, a mighty development kingdom of many fiefs, its ten thousand employees operating in some one hundred countries responsible for tens of billions of dollars in aid to the world's poorest nations. Enter: James Wolfensohn, the smooth global deal maker and power broker of gargantuan appetites who has furiously worked his many connections to become the World Bank's president. Over the course of his dazzling career, Wolfensohn seduced everything in his way-surely the development gurus of the bank would be no different? Even if this wasn't much the crowd for private jets and homes in Jackson Hole, for friendship with European royalty and Harrison Ford, for fencing at the Olympics and playing the cello in Carnegie Hall with Yo-Yo Ma, surely they would see what a noble sacrifice James Wolfensohn had made in walking away from his multimillion-dollar income?
Not exactly. In 1995, Wolfensohn struck the World Bank like a whirlwind, determined to reinvent the institution founded by Franklin Roosevelt and his World War II allies. Never has the World Bank's work been more important, more in the public eye, or more controversial than in the past nine years when challenges from global financial crises to AIDS to the emergence of terrorist sanctuaries in failed states have threatened our prosperity. In Sebastian Mallaby's masterful hands, the story of Wolfenson and his World Bank is a marvelous tour through the messy reality of global development. What John Gutfreund and Salomon Brothers were to the 1980s and John Meriwether and Long Term-Capital Management were to the 1990s, James Wolfensohn and the World Bank are to our time: the emblematic story through which a gifted author has channeled the spirit of the age.
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