From the first days of the United States, a battle raged over money. On one side were the democrats, who wanted cheap money and feared the concentration of financial interests in the hands of a few. On the other were the capitalists who sought the soundness of a national bank and the profits that came with it.
In telling this exciting story, H. W. Brands focuses on five "Money Men": Alexander Hamilton, who championed a national bank; Nicholas Biddle, whose run-in with Andrew Jackson led to the bank's demise; Jay Cooke, who financed the Union in the Civil War; Jay Gould, who tried to corner the gold market; and J. P. Morgan, whose position was so commanding that he bailed out the U.S. Treasury.
The Money Men is a riveting narrative, a revealing history of the men who fought over the lifeblood of American commerce and power.
©2006 H. W. Brands; (P)2006 Tantor Media, Inc.
This book describes a handful of men in the 18th and 19th century who had some influence on American monetary policy. It is neither adequate from a biographical standpoint or from the standpoint of economic history. The scope is vast; a short book like this can't hope to cover two centuries of fiscal policy, but I'm not sure what Alexander Hamilton, Jay Cook, Jay Gould and JP Morgan have in common other than that they all did business in America. I'm not at all certain these were the 5 most significant people in determining 19th century fiscal policy.
Books like this are difficult listens because there is no coherent thread to follow. It reads like several shorter pieces the author strung together.
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