Greenback: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America

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9780312422127: Greenback: The Almighty Dollar and the Invention of America

With the wry and admiring eye of a modern Tocqueville, Jason Goodwin gives us a biography of the dollar and the story of its astonishing career through the wilds of American history. Looking at the dollar over the years as a form of art, a kind of advertising, and a reflection of American attitudes, Goodwin delves into folklore and the development of printing, investigates wildcats and counterfeiters, explains why a buck is a buck and how Dixie got its name. Bringing together an array of quirky detail and often hilarious anecdote, Goodwin tells the story of America through its most beloved product.

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About the Author:

Jason Goodwin's previous titles include Lords of the Horizons, On Foot to the Golden Horn, and A Time for Tea. He lives in England.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Most people find that what they really like about money is more of it, but only Americans started with a clean slate and a belief that if only they could hit on the right formula their dreams would come true. They experimented with money as no other nation ever had the chance to: wampum, paper currency, private bank notes, gold and
silver, government money, bank money. On the way, the people learned to strike a deal, fix a price, watch their interests. They learned how to conjure money not out of the thin air exactly, but out of the natural riches of the land and the
ingenuity of their own minds, and fell to arguing how much, relatively speaking, it was worth.
Settling that dispute, over the years, defined them as a nation.

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