The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession, 2nd Edition
—From the New Foreword by Paul Volcker
This bestselling book reveals a record of human nature in the ubiquity of gold with a new foreword by Paul Volcker
In this exciting book, the late Peter L. Bernstein tells the story of history's most coveted, celebrated, and inglorious asset: gold. From the ancient fascinations of Moses and Midas through the modern convulsions caused by the gold standard and its aftermath, gold has led many of its most eager and proud possessors to a bad end. And while the same cycle of obsession and desperation may reverberate in today's fast-moving, electronically-driven markets, the role of gold in shaping human history is the striking feature of this tumultuous tale. Such is the power of gold.
Whether it is Egyptian pharaohs with depraved tastes, the luxury-mad survivors of the Black Death, the Chinese inventor of paper money, the pirates on the Spanish Main, or the hardnosed believers in the international gold standard, gold has been the supreme possession. It has been an icon for greed and an emblem of rectitude, as well as a vehicle for vanity and a badge of power that has shaped the destiny of humanity through the ages.
- Discusses the beginnings of gold as something with magical, religious, and artistic qualities and follows its trail as we progress to the invention of coinage, the transformation of gold into money, and the gold standard
- Other bestselling books by the late Peter Bernstein: Against the Gods, Capital Ideas, and Capital Ideas Evolving
- Contemplates gold from the diverse perspectives of monarchs and moneyers, potentates and politicians, men of legendary wealth and others of more plebeian beginnings
Far more than a tale of romantic myths, daring explorations, and the history of money and power struggles, The Power of Gold suggests that the true significance of this infamous element may lie in the timeless passions it continues to evoke, and what this reveals about ourselves.
PROLOGUE: The Supreme Possession 1
A METAL FOR ALL SEASONS
1. Get Gold at All Hazards 9
2. Midas’s Wish and the Creatures of Pure Chance 18
3. Darius’s Bathtub and the Cackling of the Geese 38
4. The Symbol and the Faith 52
5. Gold, Salt, and the Blessed Town 66
6. The Legacy of Eoba, Babba, and Udd 74
7. The Great Chain Reaction 85
8. The Disintegrating Age and the Kings’ Ransoms 96
9. The Sacred Thirst 114
THE PATH TO TRIUMPH
10. The Fatal Poison and Private Money 135
11. The Asian Necropolis and Hien Tsung’s Inadvertent Innovation 158
12. The Great Recoinage and the Last of the Magicians 175
13. The True Doctrine and the Great Evil 198
14. The New Mistress and the Cursed Discovery 219
15. The Badge of Honor 239
16. The Most Stupendous Conspiracy and the Endless Chain 260
THE DESCENT FROM GLORY
17. The Norman Conquest 283
18. The End of the Epoch 306
19. The Transcending Value 328
20. World War Eight and the Thirty Ounces of Gold 346
EPILOGUE: The Supreme Possession? 367
The late Peter L. Bernstein was President of Peter L. Bernstein, Inc., an economic consulting firm for institutional investors he founded in 1973, after many years of managing billions of dollars in individual and institutional portfolios. Bernstein was also the author of ten books on economics and finance, including the bestselling Capital Ideas, Capital Ideas Evolving, and Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. His writing combines the zest of a historian with the meticulous analytical powers of an economist.
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The Power of Gold: The History of an Obsession, 2nd Edition (US $19.95)
-and- Enough: True Measures of Money, Business, and Life (US $14.95)
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