War and Gold: A 500-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt (Hardcover)
A 500-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt
PublicAffairs, 9781586487683, 424pp.
Publication Date: May 27, 2014
The world was wild for gold. After discovering the Americas, and under pressure to defend their vast dominion, the Habsburgs of Spain promoted gold and silver exploration in the New World with ruthless urgency. But, the great influx of wealth brought home by plundering conquistadors couldn't compensate for the Spanish government's extraordinary military spending, which would eventually bankrupt the country multiple times over and lead to the demise of the great empire. 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.
About the Author
Kwasi Kwarteng was born in London to Ghanaian parents in 1975. He was educated at Trinity College, Cambridge, and at Harvard University, where he spent a year as a Kennedy Scholar. After completing a PhD in history at Cambridge University, he worked as a financial analyst in London. He is a Conservative member of Parliament and author of Ghosts of Empire: Britain's Legacies in the Modern World. H lives in London, UK.