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

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...



Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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From the national correspondent for PBS's MacNeil-Lehrer Newshour: a moving memoir of her youth in the Deep South and her role in desegregating the Univ. of Georgia. The eldest daughter of an army chaplain, Hunter-Gault was born in what she calls the ``first of many places that I would call `my place' ''—the small village of Due West, tucked away in a remote little corner of South Carolina. While her father served in Korea, Hunter-Gault and her mother moved first to Covington, Georgia, and then to Atlanta. In ``L.A.'' (lovely Atlanta), surrounded by her loving family and a close-knit black community, the author enjoyed a happy childhood participating in activities at church and at school, where her intellectual and leadership abilities soon were noticed by both faculty and peers. In high school, Hunter-Gault found herself studying the ``comic-strip character Brenda Starr as I might have studied a journalism textbook, had there been one.'' Determined to be a journalist, she applied to several colleges—all outside of Georgia, for ``to discourage the possibility that a black student would even think of applying to one of those white schools, the state provided money for black students'' to study out of state. Accepted at Michigan's Wayne State, the author was encouraged by local civil-rights leaders to apply, along with another classmate, to the Univ. of Georgia as well. Her application became a test of changing racial attitudes, as well as of the growing strength of the civil-rights movement in the South, and Gault became a national figure as she braved an onslaught of hostilities and harassment to become the first black woman to attend the university. A remarkably generous, fair-minded account of overcoming some of the biggest, and most intractable, obstacles ever deployed by southern racists. (Photographs—not seen.)

Pub Date: Nov. 1, 1992

ISBN: 0-374-17563-2

Page Count: 192

Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1992

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