In Moneymakers| Ben Tarnoff chronicles the lives of three colorful counterfeiters who flourished in early America| shedding fresh light on the country's financial coming of age. The speculative ethos that pervades Wall Street today| Tarnoff suggests| has its origins in the craft of counterfeiters who first took advantage of a turbulent American economy.
Few nations have as rich a counterfeiting history as the United States. Since the colonies suffered from a chronic shortage of precious metals| they were the first place in the Western world to use easily forged paper bills. And until the national currency was standardized in the last half of the nineteenth century| the United States had a dizzying variety of banknotes| making early America a counterfeiter's paradise.
In Moneymakers| Tarnoff recounts how three of America's most successful counterfeiters—Owen Sullivan| David Lewis| and Samuel Upham—each cunningly manipulated the political and economic realities of his day| driven by a desire for fortune and fame. Irish immigrant Owen Sullivan (c. 1720- 1756) owed his success not just to his hustler's charm and entrepreneurial spirit| but also to the weak law enforcement and craving for currency that marked colonial America. The handsome David Lewis (1788-1820) became an outlaw hero in backwoods Pennsylvania| infamous for his audacious jailbreaks and admired as a Robin Hood figure who railed against Eastern financial elites. Shopkeeper Samuel Upham (1819-1885) sold fake Confederate bills to his fellow Philadelphians during the Civil War as "mementos of the rebellion|" enraging Southern leaders when Union soldiers flooded their markets with the forgeries.
Through the tales of these three memorable counterfeiters| Moneymakers spins the larger story of America's financial ups and downs during its infancy and adolescence| tracing its evolution from a patchwork of colonies to a powerful nation with a single currency. It was only toward the end of the Civil War that a strengthened federal government created the Secret Service to counterfeiting| finally bringing the quintessentially American pursuit to an end. But as Tarnoff suggests in this highly original financial history| the legacy of early American counterfeiters lives on in the get-rich- quick culture we see on Wall Street today.
Category : Books
ISBN13 : 9781594202872
ISBN-10 : 1594202877
Author : Ben Tarnoff
Publisher : Penguin Press HC| The
Edition : 1
Publication Year : 2011 February
Binding : Hardcover
Language : English
Number of Pages : 384
Genres : Others
Sales Package : 1 Book
Search Keywords : Book::BBB