War and Gold
A 500-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt
By Kwasi Kwarteng
(PublicAffairs, Hardcover, 9781586487683, 424pp.)
Publication Date: May 2014
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Gold became synonymous with financial dependability, and following the devastating chaos of World War I, the gold standard came to express the order of the free market system. Warfare in pursuit of wealth required borrowing--a quickly compulsive dependency for many governments. And when people lost confidence in the promissory notes and paper currencies issued during wartime, governments again turned to gold.
In this captivating historical study, Kwarteng exposes a pattern of war-waging and financial debt--bedmates like April and taxes that go back hundreds of years, from the French Revolution to the emergence of modern-day China. His evidence is as rich and colorful as it is sweeping. And it starts and ends with gold.