When Anthony Downs, a Stanford-educated economist and well-known real estate writer, was finishing up his latest book, "Real Estate and the Financial Crisis: How Turmoil in the Capital Markets is Restructuring Real Estate Finance," the turmoil was so great that he had to revise his draft six times before submitting it for publication.

But I’m glad he did, because for anyone seeking to gain a comprehensive understanding of the historical economic and political trends which have led us to the current day, this book could be a good fit.

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