A highly readable disentangling of currency’s past and present.



Alvarado, in his debut, offers a detailed study of money and financial concepts through the ages.

In this stimulating, offbeat work of history, the author posits that the manufacture and manipulation of money—and the radically different approaches societies have taken to both those activities—have shaped events in more comprehensive ways than standard histories allow. The author carefully examines ancient cultures, such as those of Egypt, Mesopotamia, Babylon and Phoenicia, and calls their central monetary device of precious metals the “universal glue” of these societies. The artificiality of metal standards, he points out, has been a bone of economic contention throughout history; for example, he quotes U.S. presidential candidate William Jennings Bryan’s 1896 Democratic National Convention speech crying out against a gold standard, which he saw as potentially crucifying mankind upon “a cross of gold.” The gold standard takes a beating from Alvarado as well, who asserts that “the nations of the world have no need of a Wizard of Oz to grant them prosperity.” He writes of the gold mania that gripped Byzantium in the decades prior to its fall in 1453 and insists that “gold became an albatross around the empire’s neck; the single-minded pursuit of coined perfection contributed in great degree to the empire’s demise.” He also rails against the “triumph of prodigious proportions” that allowed international bankers to seek control of currency, “not of one nation, but of all nations at once.” Finally, Alvarado makes a wide-ranging case against the concept of fixed rates of exchange, claiming they ultimately strangle economic growth. The author’s research is vast, and he marshals his facts with considerable skill. Readers with no financial background won’t feel daunted by this history, but they may likely find it informative.

A highly readable disentangling of currency’s past and present.

Pub Date: Jan. 31, 2013

ISBN: 9789076660257

Page Count: 216

Publisher: Wordbridge Publishing

Review Posted Online: Jan. 24, 2013

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet



Noted jazz and pop record producer Thiele offers a chatty autobiography. Aided by record-business colleague Golden, Thiele traces his career from his start as a ``pubescent, novice jazz record producer'' in the 1940s through the '50s, when he headed Coral, Dot, and Roulette Records, and the '60s, when he worked for ABC and ran the famous Impulse! jazz label. At Coral, Thiele championed the work of ``hillbilly'' singer Buddy Holly, although the only sessions he produced with Holly were marred by saccharine strings. The producer specialized in more mainstream popsters like the irrepressibly perky Teresa Brewer (who later became his fourth wife) and the bubble-machine muzak-meister Lawrence Welk. At Dot, Thiele was instrumental in recording Jack Kerouac's famous beat- generation ramblings to jazz accompaniment (recordings that Dot's president found ``pornographic''), while also overseeing a steady stream of pop hits. He then moved to the Mafia-controlled Roulette label, where he observed the ``silk-suited, pinky-ringed'' entourage who frequented the label's offices. Incredibly, however, Thiele remembers the famously hard-nosed Morris Levy, who ran the label and was eventually convicted of extortion, as ``one of the kindest, most warm-hearted, and classiest music men I have ever known.'' At ABC/Impulse!, Thiele oversaw the classic recordings of John Coltrane, although he is the first to admit that Coltrane essentially produced his own sessions. Like many producers of the day, Thiele participated in the ownership of publishing rights to some of the songs he recorded; he makes no apology for this practice, which he calls ``entirely appropriate and without any ethical conflicts.'' A pleasant, if not exactly riveting, memoir that will be of most interest to those with a thirst for cocktail-hour stories of the record biz. (25 halftones, not seen)

Pub Date: May 1, 1995

ISBN: 0-19-508629-4

Page Count: 224

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 1995

Did you like this book?


This early reader is an excellent introduction to the March on Washington in 1963 and the important role in the march played by Martin Luther King Jr. Ruffin gives the book a good, dramatic start: “August 28, 1963. It is a hot summer day in Washington, D.C. More than 250,00 people are pouring into the city.” They have come to protest the treatment of African-Americans here in the US. With stirring original artwork mixed with photographs of the events (and the segregationist policies in the South, such as separate drinking fountains and entrances to public buildings), Ruffin writes of how an end to slavery didn’t mark true equality and that these rights had to be fought for—through marches and sit-ins and words, particularly those of Dr. King, and particularly on that fateful day in Washington. Within a year the Civil Rights Act of 1964 had been passed: “It does not change everything. But it is a beginning.” Lots of visual cues will help new readers through the fairly simple text, but it is the power of the story that will keep them turning the pages. (Easy reader. 6-8)

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 2001

ISBN: 0-448-42421-5

Page Count: 48

Publisher: Grosset & Dunlap

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 1, 2000

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet