A Counterfeiter's Paradise
The Wicked Lives and Surprising Adventures of Three Early American Moneymakers
By Ben Tarnoff
(Penguin Books, Paperback, 9780143120773, 384pp.)
Publication Date: March 6, 2012
Categories: United States - General
"This tale of counterfeiting is a treat for everyone...a delightful history lesson...Admirable and altogether charming."
-The Washington Post
As Ben Tarnoff reminds us in this entertaining narrative history, get-rich-quick schemes are as old as America itself. Indeed, the speculative ethos that pervades Wall Street today, Tarnoff suggests, has its origins in the counterfeiters who first took advantage of America's turbulent economy. In A Counterfeiter's Paradise, Tarnoff chronicles the lives of three colorful counterfeiters who flourished in early America, from the colonial period to the Civil War. Driven by desire for fortune and fame, each counterfeiter cunningly manipulated the political and economic realities of his day. Through the tales of these three memorable hustlers, Tarnoff tells the larger tale of America's financial coming-of-age, from a patchwork of colonies to a powerful nation with a single currency.
Ben Tarnoff has worked at Lapham's Quarterly and his writing has appeared in The San Francisco Chronicle. He graduated summa cum laude from Harvard in 2007. He lives in New York City.