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Timothy Geithner book jacket. / AP

Tim Geithner's new book promises an inside look at the government's response to the 2008 financial crisis, and carries an apt title: Stress Test.

"The financial crisis was a stress test of our nation, an extreme real-time challenge of a democracy's ability to act when the world needed creative, decisive, politically unpalatable action," the former Treasury secretary writes on the book's website.

Stress Test: Reflections on Financial Crises hits bookstores May 13.

In his statement, Geithner says "the failures of our political system imposed" undercut the government's efforts to cope with the financial meltdown.

"We made mistakes, it was messy, and the damage was devastating and long-lasting," Geithner says. "And yet, at the moments of most extreme peril, the United States was able to design and execute a remarkably effective strategy."

Geithner, who headed the New York Fed during the George W. Bush administration before becoming President Obama's Treasury secretary, said both the Republican and Democratic teams - "with just enough bipartisan support to get a polarized Congress to do its part" - did what was necessary "to end the crisis and start a recovery."

Writes Geithner: "We saved the economy from a failing financial system, though we lost the country doing it."

Geithner also says he hopes his book "will help answer some of the questions that still linger about the crisis. Why did it happen, and how did we let it happen? How did we decide who got bailed out? Why didn't we nationalize more banks, or let more banks fail? How did we manage to convince the left we were Wall Street's wingmen while convincing Wall Street we were Che Guevaras in suits?"

He also writes:

"I also hope this book can add to the historical record, help correct some misperceptions that have been entered into that record, and give a sense of what it was like in the fire.

"But there is another reason I'm writing this book. Financial crises are perilous, and this one won't be the last. Yet the United States has no standing army for fighting financial wars, no Joint Chiefs of Staff, no War College. It also had no playbook for a terrible financial crisis.

"All financial crises are different, but they have a lot in common, and there are lessons to learn from this extreme one that can help policy makers and the public during the next one. I hope this story can help illuminate these lessons."



Copyright 2014 USATODAY.com

Read the original story: Geithner book looks back at financial crisis

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