Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Books on money: five best

Jane Kamensky, a history professor at Brandeis University and the author of The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse, named a five best list of books on money for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
A Nation of Counterfeiters
by Stephen Mihm
Harvard, 2007

Between the Revolutionary era, when the Continental was America's currency, and the Civil War, which brought us the greenback, the U.S. had no national paper currency. Chartered banks and their privately issued notes proliferated. The babel of competing bills created fertile ground for counterfeits, which sprang up like mushrooms. By the 1850s, thousands of different breeds of paper passed as American money. In "A Nation of Counterfeiters," Stephen Mihm's relentless sleuthing and lively prose reanimate a world in which every dollar had to be carefully read. This rogues gallery of forgers, coin-shavers and engravers-gone-bad holds up a funhouse mirror to the entrepreneurial face of American money-making.
Read about another title on Kamensky's list.

The Page 69 Test: A Nation of Counterfeiters.

--Marshal Zeringue