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War and Gold : A 500-Year History of Empires, Adventures, and Debt
by Kwasi Kwarteng


Overview - 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.  Read more...

 
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More About War and Gold by Kwasi Kwarteng
 
 
 
Overview
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.

 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781586487683
  • ISBN-10: 158648768X
  • Publisher: PublicAffairs
  • Publish Date: May 2014
  • Page Count: 424
  • Dimensions: 9.4 x 6.1 x 1.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds


Related Categories

Books > History > World - General
Books > History > Military - General
Books > Business & Economics > Economic History

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-01-13
  • Reviewer: Staff

The title’s implications aside, this is really a history of money—thoroughly satisfying and remarkably accessible. Aiming to explain today’s international financial turmoil, British historian and Conservative MP Kwarteng (Ghosts of Empire: Britain’s Legacies in the Modern World) begins with Spain’s conquest of America and its resultant bonanza of gold and silver. This bullion allowed governments to pay for wars and bolstered the European nation-state, yet it also fostered inflation, deficits, and a vast expansion of paper money—the three sins of classical economics. Centuries of financial bedlam paused during the Victorian era of gold-based stable currency and balanced budgets, but two ruinous world wars resurrected deficits and unprecedented government spending. The 1944 Bretton Woods Agreement revived gold-based discipline, but its end in 1971 led to an explosion of credit, easy money, financial chicanery, the rise of Japan and the European Union(, the spectacular transformation of China, and the continued, if shaky, domination of a pugnacious, free-spending America and its dollar. While John Kenneth Galbraith’s 1975 Money: Whence it Came, Where It Went remains the subject’s touchstone, Kwarteng superbly brings that volume up to date in explaining the almost unexplainable. Agent: Georgina Capel, Capel & Land Ltd. (U.K.) (May)

 
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