In the summer of late 2007, shares of Northern Rock went into free-fall causing a run on the bank – the first since the Great Depression. Northern Rock was only the first: in the ensuing months, Alistair Darling stood firm in the eye of this perfect storm – all over the world financial institutions thought ‘too big to fail’ were falling prey to the lethal toxicity of the US sub-prime mortgage market.
Back from the Brink tells the gripping story of one thousand days of crisis. As Chancellor, Alistair Darling sanctioned the £37bn bailouts of RBS and HBoS just minutes before their cash machines would have ceased to function; at the 11th hour, he prevented Barclay’s from acquiring Lehman Brothers, telling US Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson that he wouldn’t allow British banks to import America’s economic cancer; he used controversial legislation to stop Icelandic banks from withdrawing funds from the UK. From all night meetings at the White House, to confrontations with the titans of international banking and fractions relations with Gordon Brown, Darling places the reader in the rooms where the destinies of millions weighed heavily on the shoulders of a few.
Back from the Brink is a gripping and immediate account of an unprecedented global financial catastrophe. Alistair Darling’s knowledge and understanding make this not only a unique perspective on the events that rocked global capitalism, but a vital and fascinating historical document.