Greenback Planet: How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilization as We Know It

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University of Texas Press, Aug 29, 2011 - Business & Economics - 147 pages
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The world runs on the U.S. dollar. From Washington to Beijing, governments, businesses, and individuals rely on the dollar to conduct commerce and invest profitably and safely—even after the global financial meltdown in 2008 revealed the potentially catastrophic cost of the dollar's hegemony. But how did the greenback achieve this planetary dominance a mere century and a half after President Lincoln issued the first currency backed only by the credit—and credibility—of the federal government?

In Greenback Planet, acclaimed historian H. W. Brands charts the dollar's astonishing rise to become the world's principal currency. Telling the story with the verve of a novelist, he recounts key episodes in U.S. monetary history, from the Civil War debate over fiat money (greenbacks) to the recent worldwide financial crisis. Brands explores the dollar's changing relations to gold and silver and to other currencies and cogently explains how America's economic might made the dollar the fundamental standard of value in world finance. He vividly describes the 1869 Black Friday attempt to corner the gold market, banker J. P. Morgan's bailout of the U.S. treasury, the creation of the Federal Reserve, and President Franklin Roosevelt's handling of the bank panic of 1933. Brands shows how lessons learned (and not learned) in the Great Depression have influenced subsequent U.S. monetary policy, and how the dollar's dominance helped transform economies in countries ranging from Germany and Japan after World War II to Russia and China today. He concludes with a sobering dissection of the 2008 world financial debacle, which exposed the power—and the enormous risks—of the dollar's worldwide reign.

 

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GREENBACK PLANET: How the Dollar Conquered the World and Threatened Civilization As We Know It

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

In this succinct overview, two-time Pulitzer finalist Brands (History/Univ. of Texas; The Murder of Jim Fisk for the Love of Josie Mansfield: A Tragedy of the Gilded Age, 2011, etc.) traces the role ... Read full review

Contents

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19902002
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109
NOTES
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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
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About the author (2011)

H. W. Brands is the Dickson Allen Anderson Centennial Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He writes on American history and politics, with books including Traitor to His Class, Andrew Jackson, The Age of Gold, The First American, and TR. Several of his books have been bestsellers; two, Traitor to His Class and The First American, were finalists for the Pulitzer Prize. He lectures frequently on historical and current events, and can be seen and heard on national and international television and radio programs.

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