One Nation Under Gold: How One Precious Metal Has Dominated the American Imagination for Four Centuries 1st Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
- Ralph Benko, Forbes
“[A] chronicle of the American people’s fascination with gold. . . . [Ledbetter’s] well-spun narrative spans the better part of four centuries.”
- James Grant, Wall Street Journal
“A surprisingly readable history of U.S. fiscal policy. Starting with America’s earliest currencies . . . the book traces the chaotic end of the gold standard and dissects our modern obsession with trying to bring it back . . . . [Ledbetter’s] measured, persuasive conclusion after surveying two centuries of haphazard fiscal decision making is that a return to a gold standard would be a deeply bad idea. Consider this a must read for the gold bugs in your life”
- Anne VanderMey, Fortune
“Everyone is familiar with gold but few know of its complex history―until now, thanks to James Ledbetter’s skillful storytelling.”
- Joseph E. Stiglitz, Nobel Prize–winning economist and best-selling author of The Great Divide
“What an original, imaginative book! Bristling with ideas, this lucid history reveals the economic, cultural, and political dimensions of gold’s role in the American experience. So doing, it illuminates, informs, and provokes.”
- Ira Katznelson, author of the Bancroft Prize–winning Fear Itself
“I learned an interesting new fact on nearly every page of One Nation Under Gold, but I also learned more than facts: James Ledbetter shows us how men have been transfixed by this metal and the folly that has resulted from that obsession. A gripping story, and a history that has had far more influence over policy in the United States than you might think.”
- Michael Tomasky, editor of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas
“The material on the gold crisis of the 1960s is really superb―without question the best treatment I have seen of this issue. This was the issue Johnson faced, combined with Vietnam and racial backlash.”
- Julian Zelizer, author of The Fierce Urgency of Now
“[This] is the first book to really make sense of the tumultuous and entertaining history of Americans’ obsession with gold, brilliantly illuminating how our fascination with the precious metal has shaped our national psyche, sparked political turmoil, and exerted a powerful and often malignant influence on economic policy.”
- James Surowiecki
About the Author
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Despite our fascination with it, we take our understanding of gold’s role in our economy and our collective cultural consciousness for granted. Phrases like “the gold standard” and “good as gold” permeate popular language yet their origins have been forgotten. Most Americans go from learning about gold rushes in places like Alaska and California as children to hocking their old jewelry at strip-mall “buy and sell” joints as adults, without for a moment considering the reasons behind gold’s shifting grip on our economy, our culture and ultimately, our aspirations.
This book follows gold’s journey from the founding of the United States and its role in the Constitution through the 2016 Republican party platform—with of course, a nod to The Wizard of Oz along the way.
America’s economic and political history has been linked to this shiny nugget for centuries, impacting the nation’s economic policies from the highest government coffers to the pocketbooks of average Americans on the street. Ledbetter’s gilded tour of American history is as brilliant as the ore itself.
There is some discussion on the merits of basing a currency on gold, and some discussion on investing in it; however, this is NOT a political book. It's pretty unbiased in my opinion. It does provide some references to other works on both sides of those two issues which the reader can look up on their own. It also goes into some of gold broker scandals as well as some pretty interesting international scares - stuff just made for Cold War political thrillers (but all true).
I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars because the book bogged down a little in the first third and some sections got really into the minutiae, but it was otherwise a thoroughly enjoyable read. I still have sticky notes on many pages - mark of a good read!
Top international reviews
Easy to read and very informative