At the dawn of the 16th century, Spanish conquistadors discovered the New World; the vast quantities of gold and silver they found and took would make Spain rich, yet the new wealth was plunged into multiple wars that eventually led to the economic ruin of their empire. Historian and Member of Parliament Kwasi Kwarteng—also the author of Ghosts of the Empire—shows that this moment in world history has been echoed many times. He reveals a pattern of war-waging, debt, and fluctuations between paper money and the gold standard from the French Revolution to both World Wars, right up to the present day, when our own economic crisis saw many of our great nations slip into financial trouble.
"Enormously entertaining ... turns the evolution of money of the past 500 years into a rollicking narrative.... His book is so engagingly written that readers of all political persuasions should enjoy it."—Sunday Times (London)