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An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power Paperback – October 25, 2005
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
He begins with the resource rich, but hostile wilderness that the early explorers found. The British made the first permanent settlement at Jamestown in what is now Virginia. The settlers had come for gold, found mica that they mistook for gold ore, and only 38 of the 105 survived the first winter. They kept coming from England and they kept struggling until they began to grow and export tobacco. Mr. Gordon then takes us on a fast paced, and amazing journey through the nation's founding, the movement west, our major wars, depressions, and the rise (and fall) of technologies such as steam, the railroads, machine supported agriculture, banking, and international trade. He ends the book with the horrible events we experienced on September 11, 2001.
Not only is this a fun read for anyone interested in American History, it would be a fine addition to the history readings for high school or college students. I especially like the author's honesty about the good and the bad in our history without making us the bad guys or the source of all pain and suffering on the planet.Read more ›
It is anything but. Gordon's effort is downright gripping, a compelling read chock full of information. Gordon has a knack for finding the most intriguing aspects of history and explaining difficult concepts in a manner that is quickly grasped. He is able to get to the heart of a concept without dragging along pedantic baggage. His writing is flawless and the raw historical material is seamlessly synthesized with consummate professionalism.
Gordon wraps his discussion of larger economic themes around the impact that invention, infrastructural development, and politics had on the burgeoning American economy. Examples include the Erie Canal, road and railroad building, the cotton gin, or the bessemer furnace.
From an "ideological" perspective, Gordon falls into the typical free-market, pro-deficit camp, which is consistent with the vast majority of economists today. However, he is far from dogmatic or simplistic, as some reviewers maintain. He acknowledges that unregulated capitalism is "red in tooth and claw" but that labor unions have overstepped their bounds, for example. Gordon devotes much time to the monopolies, oligopolies and collusion of post- Civil War America. At the same time, he fairly points out that not all political attempts to defang raw capitalism were the panaceas so keenly hoped-for.
A nice feature of Gordon's approach is his recognition of less-appreciated historical actors.Read more ›
This was a very well written book. I initially picked it up from the library, and then purchased a copy to add to my library.
Major strengths in this book:
* How the original American colonies were established and grew economically. Have NEVER seen this material so well put together. It's an economic genealogy of the states.
* How changes in transportation and manufacturing impacted economic development (rivers and canals, steamboats and railroads, steam engines and cotton gins, etc.) LOTS of insight here.
* How the American economy went through not one or two but many recurring depressions over time. Good treatment of differing policies of presidents and congresses. Good treatment of historical conflict about having a central Bank of the United States. IMPORTANT changes in American mindset here.
* Good review of changes in money. This was a wild and crazy topic in American practice.
* How the American economy went from few to many stockholders. Good treatment of changes in regulation and deregulation.
* Good start on oil. How it came in. How it became dominant.
* Depth of treatment suffers after Reagan era. No mention of Clinton or Bush(es) even though book is copyright 2004.
* The switch from nuts and bolts topics like steam engines to abstract topics like fiscal policy could use more elaboration. This is a valuable and critical point he's making in the history of the country's mindset and it needs more treatment.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A fascinating view of American history from a macro economic viewpoint. The Hamilton/Jefferson debate is brilliantly described with the author coming down clearly on Hamilton's... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Robert S Taffet
There are some thick and thorough volumes covering U.S. economic history written by academics and used as textbooks in college courses. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Very interesting book about US history and the reasons of why US is what it is today !Published 5 months ago by Gutierrez Fernando
Excellent. A concise, well written narrative about how America came to be the country that it is today.Published 10 months ago by Jerry Anderson