The ascent of money

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NIALL FERGUSON
Author
T H E W A R O F

of
T H E W O R L D

THE ASCENT OF MONEY
A FINANCIAL HISTORY of THE WORLD

U.S. $29.95 Canada $33.00

B r e a d , cash, dosh, d o u g h , loot: C a l l it w h a t y o u like, it m a t t e r s . To C h r i s t i a n s , love o f it is the root o f all e v i l . To g e n e r a l s , it's t h e s i n e w s o f w a r . To r e v o l u ­ tionaries,it's the chains o f labor. B u t i n The Ascent Money, of

N i a l l F e r g u s o n s h o w s that finance is i n fact

t h e f o u n d a t i o n o f h u m a n progress. W h a t ' s m o r e , h e reveals f i n a n c i a l h i s t o r y as t h e essential b a c k s t o r y b e h i n d all history. T h e e v o l u t i o n o f credit a n d debt w a s as i m p o r ­ tant as a n y t e c h n o l o g ic a l i n n o v a t i o n i n t h e rise o f civilization, from ancient B a b y l o n to the silver m i n e s o f B o l i v i a . B a n k s p r o v i d e d the m a t e r i a l basis for the splendors o f the Italian R e n a i s s a n c e w h i l e the b o n d m a r k e t w a s the decisive factor i n conflicts from t h e S e v e n Years' W a r to t h e A m e r i c a n C i v i l W a r . W i t h th e c l a r i t y a n d v e r v e for w h i c h h e is k n o w n , Ferguson explains w h y the origins of the French R e v o l u t i o n lie in a stock market bubble caused by a convicted Scots murderer. H e shows h o w f i n a n c i a l f a i l u r e t u r n e d A r g e n t i n a from t h e world's sixth richest c o u n t r y into an inflationr i d d e n basket c a s e — a n d h o w a financial re v o l u t i o n is p r o p e l l i n g t h e w o r l d ' s m o s t p o p u l o u s c o u n t r y from p o v e r t y to p o w e r i n a single g e n e r a t i o n . Yet t h e m o s t i m p o r t a n t lesson o f t h e financial h i s t o r y is that s o o n e r o r l a t e r e v e r y b u b b l e bursts — s o o n e r or later t h e b e a r i s h sellers o u t n u m b e r t h e b u l l i s h b uy e r s , s o o n e r o r later g r e e d flips i n t o fear. A n d that's why, w h e t h e r you're scraping b y or rolling i n it, there's n e v e r b e e n a b e t t e r t i m e to u n d e r s t a n d t h e ascent o f m o n e y .

1108

Niall F e r g u s o n is o n e o f Britain's most r e n o w n e d h i s t o r i a n s . H e is L a u r e n c e A . T i s c h Professor o f H i s t o r y atH a r v a r d U n i v e r s i t y , a S e n i o r R e s e a r c h Fellow of Jesus C o l l e g e , Oxford University, and a S e n i o r F e l l o w o f the H o o v e r Institution, Stanford University. T h e bestselling a u t h o r of Paper and Iron, The House of Rothschild, Colossus The Pity of War, The Cash

Nexus, Empire,

a n d The War of the World, h e

also w r i t e s r e g u l a r ly for n e w s p a p e r s a n d m a g a z i n e s all over the world. H e has w r i t t e n and presented four h i g h l y successful television d o c u m e n t a r y series for C h a n n e l 4: Empire, American Colossus, The War of the H e , his

World and, most recently, The Ascent of Money.

w i f e a n d three c h i l d r e n d i v i d e t h e i r t i m e b e t w e e n the U n i t e d K in g d o m a n d the U n i t e d States.

Jacket painting: Lais Corinthiaca,

1 5 2 6 (oil on limewood),

by Hans Holbein the Younger, Offentliche Kunstsammlung, Basel, Switzerland/The Bridgeman A r t Library

The

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T H E WA R OF T H E
Twentieth-Century Conflict and

WORLD
of the West

the Descent

"A heartbreaking, serious and thoughtful survey o f h u m a n evil that is utterly fascinating and dramatic . . . superb narrative history." — S i m o n S e b a g M o n t e f i o r e , The New York Times Book Review

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