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Incorporating myth, history and contemporary investigation, Bernstein tells the story of how human beings have become intoxicated, obsessed, enriched, impoverished, humbled and proud for the sake of gold. From the past to the future, Bernstein's portrayal of gold is intimately linked to the character of humankind. Incorporating myth, history and contemporary investigation, Bernstein tells the story of how human beings have become intoxicated, obsessed, enriched, impoverished, humbled and proud for the sake of gold. From the past to the future, Bernstein's portrayal of gold is intimately linked to the character of humankind.


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Incorporating myth, history and contemporary investigation, Bernstein tells the story of how human beings have become intoxicated, obsessed, enriched, impoverished, humbled and proud for the sake of gold. From the past to the future, Bernstein's portrayal of gold is intimately linked to the character of humankind. Incorporating myth, history and contemporary investigation, Bernstein tells the story of how human beings have become intoxicated, obsessed, enriched, impoverished, humbled and proud for the sake of gold. From the past to the future, Bernstein's portrayal of gold is intimately linked to the character of humankind.

30 review for The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nathik

    An Euro-centric Keynesian History of Gold Gold is a chemically inert, oxidation malleable and high density metal. This rare metal is paradoxically found across all continents. Ancient World: The Ancients(Egyptians, Jews to Romans) adored gold but as a display of wealth not as money. The demand for gold drove the demand of mining. Mining is a labor intensive process and this facilitated slavery. Bimetallism: King Croesus(595BC) was the first to establish gold as coin/medium of exchange via state. He a An Euro-centric Keynesian History of Gold Gold is a chemically inert, oxidation malleable and high density metal. This rare metal is paradoxically found across all continents. Ancient World: The Ancients(Egyptians, Jews to Romans) adored gold but as a display of wealth not as money. The demand for gold drove the demand of mining. Mining is a labor intensive process and this facilitated slavery. Bimetallism: King Croesus(595BC) was the first to establish gold as coin/medium of exchange via state. He annulled private issuance of electrum and called all outstanding coins and minted gold & silver coins to the old. Bimetallism is seldom stable as changing supply of metal overtime causes the values to change. Croesus maintained a ratio of 10:1. Persians and the Romans: Persians expanded the practice of gold coin mintage and influenced gold to be accepted as the popular form of money and collect tax in gold instead of wheat/rice. The expanding roman empire experienced the shortage of gold.Shortage lead to the below. 1. Living with insufficient supply makes demand fall short and downward pressure the price aka Depression. 2. Importing gold via plunder/trade 3. Debasing currency Constantine (337BC) used new 98 % pure gold coins "Solidus" as his conquest eastward brought him gold. This was officially the widely accepted form of money. Made gold as the only accepted medium of exchange. Middle-Ages: The Arabs dominated and outsmarted their competitors in trade and established monopolies in Africa & this gave them access to West African Gold. Africans traded gold to salt. Salt was their primary money because of its scarcity. Reconquista and Atahualpa: Portuguese and Spaniards paved way for discovery of the new world. When the Spaniards arrived to South America, they invited The King of Incas Atahualpa to their quarters. Atahualpa naively accepted & he was taken hostage. Once the ransom for paid & the kingdom fell, the spaniards sentenced him to death for idolatry & adultery. Atahualpa was baptised in the honour of St. John for a quick and painless death. Mining became a serious business. Under the spaniards, the merciless labor was devastating to the natives. The death rate was so high that many africans slaves had to be imported. Spain & Gold: With Gold flowing back to Spain, Spain failed to become rich. The Expulsion of Jews & Muslims removed the merchant class & the scientific community. High consumption & no production along with rigid structure of society ultimately led to Price revolution of 16th Century. Asians: Asia is hardly discussed in the book which is a huge drawback. Asians understand gold was too important to be traded as money. So they used copper & brass as medium of exchange in place of gold. The word Cash for ready liquid money is Tamil word. Hien Tsung(821AD), due to severe shortage of copper, used sheet of paper for money. Magic Mint & New Rulers: In 1661, Charles II of England issued an order in council mandating manufacturing of coins by machinery in-place of hammer. The new coin, guinea, equal to £1 about 8 grams or 1/4 of an ounce. In 1697, Bank of England was established as the 1st private company to do business as limited liability company in exchange for £1.2 million loan with 8% interest. New Bank system and First Crisis: Three forms of money were used in Britain. 1. Government minted gold coins 2. Bank Notes from BoE and other private banks 3. People deposited gold to goldsmith and got receipts. Fear of French invasion provoked citizens to encase bank notes for gold. This resulted in Bank Restriction Act of 1797 . Gold Rush: The 19th Century Gold rush in Australia, California and South Africa made establishment of international gold standard possible & had the opposite effect of Price Revolution from 16th Century. WW1 & its effects: According to the writer, Gold standard was a symptom of stability and not the cause. Post WW I ,National debt swelled by multiples of 1914 for all. Each country owed many to many of its citizens. Allies ended up in debt to the US upto $2 Billion. France, Italy, Russia owed $500 Million to UK, The total holding of UK, France and Germany in gold was $2 Billion. Gold Standard was suspended as a result, To bring to Gold standard means higher interest rate. High interest rate means subdued business activity which in turn means higher unemployment. Higher employment keeps wages in check which keeps price in check. The gold standard of 1925 was passed subsequently. Banking Act of 1933 prohibits hoarding of gold and silver coins and required all public to surrender the gold coins/bars. The currency which broke from gold standard devalued. The price of gold went up & price of goods & services fell down substantially. WW2 & its effect: After WW2, many countries were in shambles & currencies debased. In Germany, cigarettes & nylon stocking were preferred payments. USD become the only currency convertible to gold(by central bankers, national treasuries and not private individuals). USD became the preferred mode of payment over gold as it was easy convertible and earned interest. Inflation was the only vulnerability of USD. Nixon shock: Vietnam war, budget deficit, unemployment contributed to inflation. Nixon removed the gold standard in 1971. Floating currency system was established. This soared the price of gold & made it a hedge against chaos, inflation & uncertainty. This is an erudite account on the history of Gold. However, it has few drawbacks. Asia's role, impact & narrative conspicuously missing. The writer takes a Keynesian approach to narrate the history of the gold instead of taking views from all school of thoughts. It is implicit from his writing that he's skeptical of gold as store of value or medium of exchange. However he is very inconclusive in his take on Gold & its role(if any) in 21st century. Highly recommended still!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    Here is a history of an element that is almost universally desired. It crosses national, ethnic, and religious cultures--indeed, it might be deemed the thing we all worship. The author covers the history from legends (King Midas) and biblical stories (The Golden Calf) to 2001, when the book was published. It is quite a journey. Of course gold is worth so much because we all agree it is worth something. If we decided coconuts were as valuable, the world would be changed forever. (ha). The book ca Here is a history of an element that is almost universally desired. It crosses national, ethnic, and religious cultures--indeed, it might be deemed the thing we all worship. The author covers the history from legends (King Midas) and biblical stories (The Golden Calf) to 2001, when the book was published. It is quite a journey. Of course gold is worth so much because we all agree it is worth something. If we decided coconuts were as valuable, the world would be changed forever. (ha). The book carries us through the search for gold, trading the gold, killing for gold, etc. Bernstein spends a good deal of time explaining the gold standard--whereby many countries pegged their currency to the value of gold. I have to admit, he lost me a bit here, but I got the idea. Since the book has been published, gold has quadrupled in value--I would be curious to see what the author would say about that.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Troy Rawlings

    Mankinds history of a Gold obsession. Bersntein captures Greek, Persian, Asian and Roman civilization's obsession for gold. He follows the Spaniards, Portuguese and British to the Americas, not to baptize the heathens, but to loot their gold. The European riches become nothing but rags after decades of trading silver and gold for simplistic puerilities, silk and spices to Asian societies - China and India, a mirror image of trade between the U.S. and China. Subsequently, he emphasizes the import Mankinds history of a Gold obsession. Bersntein captures Greek, Persian, Asian and Roman civilization's obsession for gold. He follows the Spaniards, Portuguese and British to the Americas, not to baptize the heathens, but to loot their gold. The European riches become nothing but rags after decades of trading silver and gold for simplistic puerilities, silk and spices to Asian societies - China and India, a mirror image of trade between the U.S. and China. Subsequently, he emphasizes the importance of Gold and how it has dictated the evolution of today's modern monetary policy. Fascinating. Take the chance and read!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Ding Wei Yung

    From the mythology of Midas all the way to the turn of the 20th century, the role of gold as money as well as symbol of wealth, strength, and power has been repeated in many stories throughout millennia, albeit with different actors. These stories are a real delight to read with only disappointment that only one chapter was dedicated to the Asian perspective. The author was clearly skeptical of gold as the linchpin of monetary standard, as you can find out in later chapters (i.e. from 1800s onwa From the mythology of Midas all the way to the turn of the 20th century, the role of gold as money as well as symbol of wealth, strength, and power has been repeated in many stories throughout millennia, albeit with different actors. These stories are a real delight to read with only disappointment that only one chapter was dedicated to the Asian perspective. The author was clearly skeptical of gold as the linchpin of monetary standard, as you can find out in later chapters (i.e. from 1800s onwards). Through the lens of Keynesian economics, the gold standard is seen as constraining and unnecessary rigid, which runs against profligate government spendings and government stimulation programs during recession. The author seemed to convinced that the gold has no monetary part to play in the modern economy. Nevertheless, tremendous amount of scholarship has went into the work and numerous references for those who wanted to find out about more about back stories for those events.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Steve Scott

    Finished the audiobook...which is interesting until the author gets into the history of the deeper economic impacts of gold. It then gets hard to track. When listening to an audiobook in a car one can’t “re-read” a page or paragraph for clarification. That said, I think the physical book would be much better. This will work better on the page, unless you understand economics well...which I don’t. Still, the early history of gold was fascinating.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Every history buff should add this book to there read list. Money has been and will always be integral to the machinations of the history of civilization. At least until humanity reaches a Star Trekkian time when money will not be used for a person's needs and desires. When you get done chuckling at this idea then read the book. Every history buff should add this book to there read list. Money has been and will always be integral to the machinations of the history of civilization. At least until humanity reaches a Star Trekkian time when money will not be used for a person's needs and desires. When you get done chuckling at this idea then read the book.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Gennady

    Very comprehensive and detailed review of the human history of using gold. Some parts are very entertaining such the gold rush after the discovery of Americas, Gold standard. But some parts are simply boring, details too plentiful. You lose track of the history line.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Juraj Spilda

    Mostly well written and captivating history of gold. Occasionally bogged down by too much detail, but it gives a new perspective to potential driving forces behind some historical developments. The pictures were unnecessary and seem like page-filler.

  9. 5 out of 5

    John

    This was an interesting book for a while, but I found gold was not interesting enough to hold my interest. Gave up at about one third or the way. I gave it 3 stars as the writer does an OK job, but not well enough to make this captivating for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Low Keng onn

    the subject matter,gold is something of interest. But, the presentation in my opinion ,is of old school. very wordy and at times detracts from the story..

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jeroen Van de Crommenacker

    Interesting book and quite readable.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Derek Vice

    Interesting for a while... then I got bored. However, I bore easily when it comes to non-fiction so potentially not a fair reflection on this book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rana

    Inoffensive but still managed to piss me off by being unreadable .. thanks

  14. 5 out of 5

    Samuel Peck

    Disappointed. An onslaught of mind-numbingly trivial facts.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kenneth

    A worthwhile read that truly traces the history of mankind's fascination while this rare metal. A worthwhile read that truly traces the history of mankind's fascination while this rare metal.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Oğuz Kırman

    He transfers the history of money in a fluent way.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Arges

    More a history book, full of details and dates instead of a framework of gold. It´s quite useful to understand the history of gold, although the reading is dense and slow.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Pablo

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved Bernstein's Against the Gods and decided to read this as well. Thinking that risk is boring and gold is badass, I decided this book would be great. It is a good book, not a great book. It's definitely not a page turner. I picked it up and put it down numerous times and it took me a little less than two years to get all the way through it. But I'm glad I finished it. It is an excellent history and introduces many historical figures in a new light and gave an great account of the twentieth I loved Bernstein's Against the Gods and decided to read this as well. Thinking that risk is boring and gold is badass, I decided this book would be great. It is a good book, not a great book. It's definitely not a page turner. I picked it up and put it down numerous times and it took me a little less than two years to get all the way through it. But I'm glad I finished it. It is an excellent history and introduces many historical figures in a new light and gave an great account of the twentieth century and its lapsing of the gold standard. My favorite part of the book is the first section of the book's epilogue, which gives a brief synopsis of the book's entirety: Over the centuries, gold has stirred the passions for power and glory, for beauty, for security, and even for immortality. Gold has been an icon for greed, a vehicle for vanity, and a potent constraint as a monetary standard. No other object has commanded so much veneration over so long a period of time. God selected gold for the tabernacle where humans should come to worship. Jason saw the Golden Fleece as the key to establishing his dynasty. For the Egyptian pharaohs, gold wold confirm their magnificence even in the Afterlife. Croesus coined his golden staters and bribed the Oracle of Delphi with gold to assure himself of the security of his rule. Crassus thought gold could buy him military glory and ended with molten gold in his throat. The Byzantines clung to gold as an instrument of power and to ward off their many enemies. The Arabs used gold, along with their military zeal, to humble the world with theri business skills. The Genoese, Venetians, and Florentines coined gold to articulate their financial power. The survivors of the Black Death festooned themselves with gold to celebrate their survival. Columbus thought gold could get people into Heaven. The Spaniards despoiled the New World's gold in a vain attempt to dominate the Old. Asians sponged up gold to protect themselves from the unknown. Issac Newton, a scientist who spent years at alchemy, thought he understood the golden guinea and grossly underestimated its importance. The English, and then all the Europeans and the Americans, built complex financial systems on the bedrock of gold, expecting it to defend their wealth from the depredations of government and the impatient poor. The Forty-Niners ravaged Johann Sutter's farm in search of the life of kings. John Stewart MacArthur expected cyanidation to bring him great wealth and was foiled by others who were even greedier. Charles de Gaulle saw gold as a s weapon to bring his rivals to their knees so that the world could enjoy the order that France would bestow upon it. The gnomes of Switzerland and the speculators in the frenzy of the early 1980s fled to gold for an invincible shield against the irrationality of the state. But all of that is history. At the dawn of the new millennium, gold is no longer at the center of the universe. The last vestiges of the golden fetters were discarded by Richard Nixon in 1971. When the golden Humpty-Dumpty fell off that wall, no one had much interest in wanting to put him back together again. Dispossessed from its power over the world of money, gold has been emasculated. Now greed and the lust for power frun down different channels. We have related gold to its traditional role in jewelry and adornment, although small amounts of gold fly into space and speed the motion of electronic blips. In an even more novel capacity, 22-carat flakes of gold have been sprinkled atop sashimi salads, roast lamb, and other pricey dishes.

  19. 5 out of 5

    SeaShore

    Paul Volcker wrote a foreword to this book dated 2012. For decades, no central bank or government had maintained convertibility of its currencies into gold. For the most part, major currencies were floated in exchange markets Gold had been shorn of monetary significance. In the 1990s, central banks, the custodians of national financial resources, were tending to sell from their golden hoards acquired over the decades, even at declining prices. In the 1960s, General deGaul He praised the value of go Paul Volcker wrote a foreword to this book dated 2012. For decades, no central bank or government had maintained convertibility of its currencies into gold. For the most part, major currencies were floated in exchange markets Gold had been shorn of monetary significance. In the 1990s, central banks, the custodians of national financial resources, were tending to sell from their golden hoards acquired over the decades, even at declining prices. In the 1960s, General deGaul He praised the value of gold without acknowledging that its price could change and it did. Points: If gold were more plentiful on earth- say as abundant as salt- it would be far less valuable and interesting. Most gold was owned by monarchs and priests. The golden calf was worshiped by some as noted in scripture. Solomon built a massive gold-encrusted temple, now defaced. The use of gold in Egypt was a royal perogative., unavailable to anyone but the pharoahs. The story of Hatshepsut and the explorations of gold during her reign is fascinating. Most of the gold of biblical times and ancient Egypt approximately 4000 years before Christ came from the bleak and forbidding landscape of southern Egypt and Nubia. (the Nubian mines). Slaves had to work the mines -inhaling arsenic fumes or died by fallen rocks. The Romans originally used human labor to dig as deep as 650 feet to extract the ore from the Spanish countrysiude. With hydraulicking, powerful jets were used to break up the rock. Hydraulicking was used at the height of the gold rush in 1852 in California. Not all gold has to be mined. In 1511, King Ferdinand of Spain said Get gold, if humanely possible but at all hazards - get gold. To be coimpleted!!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Quinton

    This is a good book. My only reservation is that it's a bit dry, and not always easy to want to get through the pages. I persevered though, and it was well worth it. This book talks about the history of Gold, from its beginnings with uses by the Pharos of Egypt, to it's use as currency, first as bricks, to standardized bricks, to coins - standardized coins, to the Gold Standard, and finally the fall of the Gold Standard, by Nixon in '71. It has substantial discussion about the depression in the This is a good book. My only reservation is that it's a bit dry, and not always easy to want to get through the pages. I persevered though, and it was well worth it. This book talks about the history of Gold, from its beginnings with uses by the Pharos of Egypt, to it's use as currency, first as bricks, to standardized bricks, to coins - standardized coins, to the Gold Standard, and finally the fall of the Gold Standard, by Nixon in '71. It has substantial discussion about the depression in the 1930s, and I think this is a must read for anyone who is interested in world economics of the 20th century. It was very interesting. Thumbs up.. but only if you're interested in economics, or Gold. Otherwise, maybe try something else instead.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Tom

    Bernstein is a great writer in the world of economics. In this book, he takes the reader through the history of gold and its relation to society and economics, from pre-Midas to post gold-backed dollars. How is it that with all the gold that Spain took out of South America, Spain ended up with less gold than it started with before Cortez? How did gold play into the economic disasters? Does gold serve a function as wealth, money, or adornment? Without gold backed currencies, what has taken the pl Bernstein is a great writer in the world of economics. In this book, he takes the reader through the history of gold and its relation to society and economics, from pre-Midas to post gold-backed dollars. How is it that with all the gold that Spain took out of South America, Spain ended up with less gold than it started with before Cortez? How did gold play into the economic disasters? Does gold serve a function as wealth, money, or adornment? Without gold backed currencies, what has taken the place of gold (the power of a nations government to tax, and the power of a nations economy to increase productivity). As with his other books (notably, Against the Gods – The Remarkable Story of Risk), Bernstein is far from being a dry economist – witty and thorough.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ranjeev Dubey

    Its not everyday you run into a glossily produced profusely illustrated substantial work on anything these days. So when I found this 'pretty' book featuring a considered history of gold and its role down the ages, there was nothing not to like about it. It was worth it even if it wasn't the greatest history every written. In fairness though, once we got past the gold crazed Spaniards, it really is all about America and whoever is relevant in that narrow context. Considering the impact India and Its not everyday you run into a glossily produced profusely illustrated substantial work on anything these days. So when I found this 'pretty' book featuring a considered history of gold and its role down the ages, there was nothing not to like about it. It was worth it even if it wasn't the greatest history every written. In fairness though, once we got past the gold crazed Spaniards, it really is all about America and whoever is relevant in that narrow context. Considering the impact India and China's hunger for gold has had on the global market for gold, the book proves to be dissatisfaction. Still, as Ashwariya Rai so succinctly put the issue on her way to winning her Miss World title, the book too is the epitome of "beauty with a purpose"!!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joshua Parkinson

    Did you know that every bit of gold ever extracted from the earth still exists? Did you know that if you hoarded all that gold into one pile, it wouldn't even fill one of today's oil supertankers? Bernstein's book is a great read. Hopefully I'll have time to write a more extensive review later. The scope of the book runs from the Bronze Age in Greece to the 1990s, with pit stops in Rome, Byzantine, Arabia, China, Renaissance Italy, Enlightenment England, and the gold rushes of 19th century Americ Did you know that every bit of gold ever extracted from the earth still exists? Did you know that if you hoarded all that gold into one pile, it wouldn't even fill one of today's oil supertankers? Bernstein's book is a great read. Hopefully I'll have time to write a more extensive review later. The scope of the book runs from the Bronze Age in Greece to the 1990s, with pit stops in Rome, Byzantine, Arabia, China, Renaissance Italy, Enlightenment England, and the gold rushes of 19th century America, Australia and Russia. The discussion of the Great Depression and its link to the Gold Standard is particularly enlightening. More later...

  24. 4 out of 5

    Siby

    Man has always had this mad fascination for gold and this book attempts to trace the story behind this often self-destructive obsession that gold seems to induce in us. This book is informative in parts; certain sections like the Spanish conquest in South America, Newton's role in Economics & British monetary policy and the recent delinking of $ from the gold standard are good reads, but overall, this book failed to connect all the dots and keep the interest alive. I was left unsatisfied at the Man has always had this mad fascination for gold and this book attempts to trace the story behind this often self-destructive obsession that gold seems to induce in us. This book is informative in parts; certain sections like the Spanish conquest in South America, Newton's role in Economics & British monetary policy and the recent delinking of $ from the gold standard are good reads, but overall, this book failed to connect all the dots and keep the interest alive. I was left unsatisfied at the end of this book. Will need to read "Against the Gods" by the same author to see if this book was an exception to his supposedly brilliant writing

  25. 5 out of 5

    Aaronb

    This is actually two books in one. The first part is a fascinating romp through the history of gold, starting as far back as records are available. I enjoyed reading about how folks in the British empire "tried to take it with them" while escaping a sinking ship. Of course they sunk straight to the bottom while laden with dozens of pounds of gold dubloons. The second part of the book switches to the economics of gold in foreign policy. Most interesting is the movement of countries onto- and then This is actually two books in one. The first part is a fascinating romp through the history of gold, starting as far back as records are available. I enjoyed reading about how folks in the British empire "tried to take it with them" while escaping a sinking ship. Of course they sunk straight to the bottom while laden with dozens of pounds of gold dubloons. The second part of the book switches to the economics of gold in foreign policy. Most interesting is the movement of countries onto- and then off-the gold standard. By making gold the prism with which to view both history and economics, Bernstein unlocks the keys to why gold's position in our society is so strong.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

    This is an excellent, informative book. For those seeking more of a social history of gold or a history of mining practices, it may be a tad disappointing. Though the author does dip into these subject areas, they aren't his primary interests. Instead, the author focuses on economic decisions and their consequences. Most of the chapters describe the historical use of gold as a monetary standard and the scrambling of elites to secure huge reserves. Throughout the book, Bernstein highlights the soc This is an excellent, informative book. For those seeking more of a social history of gold or a history of mining practices, it may be a tad disappointing. Though the author does dip into these subject areas, they aren't his primary interests. Instead, the author focuses on economic decisions and their consequences. Most of the chapters describe the historical use of gold as a monetary standard and the scrambling of elites to secure huge reserves. Throughout the book, Bernstein highlights the socio-economic perils of "hoarding" gold.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    This book is a history of gold. Today there are many who would like us to go back to the gold standard (a dollar is equal to a certain amount of gold). They think this would impose fiscal discipline on our government. It might for awhile, but Bernstein shows time and again how governments debase their currencies. Gold coins worth one unit are recalled, melted, and recast as coins worth two units. Having gold backed currency might help, but it is no magic pill that will solve our budget problems.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Chris Stratton

    This is the second book of Mr. Bernstein's I have read. Mr. Bernstein gives a detailed look at the history of gold. It is good to be reminded that money is essentially ANYTHING we give value. Mr. Bernstein reminds us that gold is no different. At times we as a society have valued it greatly and at other times not as much. Some cultures have valued it more than others. The United States dollar currently enjoys the position of the universal units of exchange. It is interesting to note how much tha This is the second book of Mr. Bernstein's I have read. Mr. Bernstein gives a detailed look at the history of gold. It is good to be reminded that money is essentially ANYTHING we give value. Mr. Bernstein reminds us that gold is no different. At times we as a society have valued it greatly and at other times not as much. Some cultures have valued it more than others. The United States dollar currently enjoys the position of the universal units of exchange. It is interesting to note how much that has changed over the history of man.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    This, despite its attempts, is not a microhistory on gold. The first third attempts to be just that, but the first section is by far the weakest part and rather constricted by economics. It only becomes enjoyable in the latter two-thirds, when it focuses on the more modern gold as money and the gold standard. Additionally, it really needed a chemist to talk about gold from the point of view of its properties. Biased of me, perhaps, but there were points where I was groaning with frustration. As a This, despite its attempts, is not a microhistory on gold. The first third attempts to be just that, but the first section is by far the weakest part and rather constricted by economics. It only becomes enjoyable in the latter two-thirds, when it focuses on the more modern gold as money and the gold standard. Additionally, it really needed a chemist to talk about gold from the point of view of its properties. Biased of me, perhaps, but there were points where I was groaning with frustration. As an economics book, quite good, but as a micro-history lacking.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Void lon iXaarii

    A quite interesting walk through history. Some very interesting stories. I particularly loved the info in the more distant past, as for the more recent past I think the author too easily presents as "known" issues that many economists still disagree on, and seems to partly close an eye on the fact that we are in many respects in uncharted waters historically as in terms of percentage of history it's a quite small one since we've gone so far away from gold. Time will tell. A quite interesting walk through history. Some very interesting stories. I particularly loved the info in the more distant past, as for the more recent past I think the author too easily presents as "known" issues that many economists still disagree on, and seems to partly close an eye on the fact that we are in many respects in uncharted waters historically as in terms of percentage of history it's a quite small one since we've gone so far away from gold. Time will tell.

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