This absorbing epic begins with the magical, religious and artistic significance of gold, progressing to the invention of coinage, the transformation of gold into money and eventually to the gold standard. The more important gold became as an economic tool, the more loudly it spoke of power - even more loudly than when it served as an entry to Heaven or a symbol of omnipotence. Finally, the book confronts the future of gold in a world where it appears to have been relegated to the periphery of financial sector.
From the Bible, through the Gold Rush era to modern day Fort Knox and beyond, unforgettable characters stride through these pages. Contemplate gold from the diverse perspectives of monarchs and money makers, potentates and politicians, men of legendary wealth and others of more plebeian beginnings: from Asia Minor's King Croesus, Rome's noted speculator Crassus, and Byzantine emperors, through Marco Polo, Christopher Columbus Francisco Pizarro, Richard I, Charlemagne and Isaac Newton to the Forty-Niners, Winston Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, John Maynard Keynes and Richard Nixon.
Whether it is Egyptian pharaohs, 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. As Bernstein muses, 'The joke is that nothing is as useless and useful all at the same time.’
The research is excellent.