Thom Foolery's Reviews > The Secret Symbols Of The Dollar Bill: A Closer Look At The Hidden Magic And Meaning Of The Money You Use Every Day

The Secret Symbols Of The Dollar Bill by David Ovason
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
2526106
's review
Jul 15, 09

bookshelves: conspiracy, freemasonry, history, religion, magic
Read in September, 2007

"Fascinating." "Extraordinary." "Dazzling." Breathless adjectives like this, taken directly from the blurb on the back cover, echo the tone of the book itself. While purporting to reveal "the fascinating secret meanings behind the design of the money we use every day," this book instead merely presents a series of more-or-less unconnected factoids about the various images found on the US $1 bill. Sadly, Ovason's writing style wrings all the power and magic out of a fascinating premise and replaces it with a sullen "so what?" I also found annoying Ovason's habit of passing off unsubstantiated assertions as fact, something that he does on a regular basis.

A page-by-page analysis of the book is inappropriate for a book review, but one choice example should suffice to support my criticisms. On page 5 (in his irrelevant factoid on how the word "dollar" originally came from Germany, irrelevant because he fails to connect it with any subsequent factoid) Ovason makes the claim that only those who knew that the dollar sign had been derived from a crucifix (one of the many points he assumes rather than proves) would get the "half-joke" from Sinclair Lewis's Main Street that the dollar sign "chased the crucifix clean off the map." Really? I would have thought that was a pretty transparent reference to the fact that the "almighty dollar"/Mammon had supplanted the Christian God in the hearts of America's faithful, a non-mystical theme which is in keeping with the rest of Sinclair Lewis's writing. Far too often, a section heading that includes wiggle words like "may," "possible," "might" is followed by a paragraph from which these qualifiers are absent. One need read only a few pages into the book to see that Ovason's tendency to confuse assertion with fact is clearly evident.

A good book on the symbolism of the dollar bill would definitely be an interesting read for those interested in American history, Freemasonry, and symbolism in general. Sadly this isn't that book.
likeflag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Secret Symbols Of The Dollar Bill.
sign in »

No comments have been added yet.