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

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  62 ratings  ·  11 reviews
From the author of Lords of the Horizons, the fascinating story of a new kind of money for a new world. Money has always been at the heart of the American experience. Paper money itself, invented in Boston in 1698, was a classic of American ingenuity—and American disregard for authority and tradition. With the wry and admiring eye of a modern De Tocqueville, Jason Goodwin...more
Audio CD, Abridged
Published January 18th 2003 by Macmillan Audio (first published 2003)
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Jason Goodwin
Jan 08, 2014 Jason Goodwin rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
It's not often that you get the chance to revisit a book you've written, and amend it. When I came to re-read Greenback, I saw more clearly where it lagged, and where it needed tightening, or corrections: and I've incorporated those changes in this Kindle edition. It's the pre-history of the dollar, before the Fed was set up in 1913, and it's something of a wild and surprising ride. It's also, I have to say, quite funny.
I've had this book on my shelf for probably 5 years, and I finally got around to reading it. My original thought was, oh, the history of the dollar, that has to be interesting and full of little rich and hilarious vignettes and stories, right? Well, it probably is, but you don't really get that form Goodwin's book.

First, the history of the dollar written by a Brit should've given me pause. He does recount the history, but his verbiage and prose are unbelievably academic, making the reading slowl...more
This is a history of the dollar. It's divided into different topics, so it's similar to other "topical" books, like Salt and Cod.

Some of the topics are difficult to understand for history students, such as the history of the Bank of the United States and Hamilton's financial plans. Unfortunately, Goodwin's prose doesn't make it any clearer. Other sections are better, such as Jefferson's attempt to push our nation to adopt a decimal currency and the indifferent reception he (and it) received.
Oct 13, 2008 Jeff rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone
I found this book extremely interesting. It covers the origins of money, talks about how the word "dollar" came about. The most interesting things for me were: 1) early opposition to the idea of a bank, and 2) all the different dollars that were printed and in circulation before we finally arrived at the dollar we know today. I guess I always thought that once the Constitution was ratified, only the US Mint was printing and issuing money. Terrific book about a not-often-discussed subject.
This was a lot of fun; it's the history of paper money, wrapped up with the history of the dollar, the concept of money itself, the gold & silver standards, and incidentally the country as a whole. It's remarkable in a way since it takes what we understand as a rock-solid institution, the dollar, and turns it into the real chimera it actually is. I enjoyed the read a lot, it's good light history mixed in with just enough economics to make it real.
Christopher Obert
A fact filled book with tons of history on both the rise of the United States and America’s greatest invention “The Dollar.” The book was, at times, difficult to follow (I think better editing could have helped this) but overall a nice history book worth the read. A few more illustrations would have enhanced the book nicely.
Jase Morris
An entertaining and informative history of the American dollar and its influence on world currencies and markets. I never realized how important the idea of paper money backed by the integrity of a government is in the world economy.
James D
Goodwin provides a fun history of the US dollar. However, further exploration of the dollar's importance (and possibly declining importance) in the world would have been interesting.
To me this seemed a very high level overview of the history of money. While it was basically informative, I was looking for more information and a deeper history.
interesting.. fun take on a traditional genre.
Good history of the U.S. dollar.
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Jason Goodwin studied Byzantine history at Cambridge University - and returned to an old obsession to write The Gunpowder Gardens or, A Time For Tea: Travels in China and India in Search of Tea, which was shortlisted for the Thomas Cook Award. When the Berlin Wall fell, he walked from Poland to Istanbul to encounter the new European neighbours. His account of the journey, On Foot to the Golden Hor...more
More about Jason Goodwin...
The Janissary Tree (Yashim the Eunuch, #1) The Snake Stone (Yashim the Eunuch, #2) The Bellini Card (Yashim the Eunuch, #3) Lords of the Horizons: A History of the Ottoman Empire An Evil Eye (Yashim the Eunuch, #4)

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