Paul E(mil) Erdman T. J. Binyon - Essay

T. J. Binyon

(Contemporary Literary Criticism)

Bill Hitchcock, [the narrator of The Crash of '79 and the] sometime chief financial adviser to the Saudi Arabian government, relates the series of events leading up to the great crash of 1979, when the whole economy of the Western world collapses in ruins, a catastrophe brought about by a fatal combination of European weakness, American inefficiency, Iranian aggressiveness, Israeli self-delusion and Swiss greed. The scenario is dolefully convincing: its natural reader would be the confirmed pessimist who always turns first to the financial section of his daily paper…. Paul E. Erdman has impressive qualifications as an economist, and the financial detail is correspondingly dense and realistic. Indeed, the dollar, mark, pound, lira and their associates emerge as far more interesting and sympathetic characters than the human beings who, despite a love affair begun in Rome, continued in Teheran and ended in St. Moritz, against a background of luxurious hotels and villas, in which the best bourbon, scotch and champagne flow like the Saudi Arabian sterling reserves, have all the credibility and naturalness of a four-star soap opera.

T. J. Binyon, "Criminal Proceedings," in The Times Literary Supplement (© Times Newspapers Ltd. (London) 1977; reproduced from The Times Literary Supplement by permission), No. 3920, March 29, 1977, p. 536.∗