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on 21 May 2012
An amazing, no holds barred, and eye-opening - but perhaps rather academic - account of the rise to all pervasive dominance of money & banking, from it's emergence in the bronze age to what we have today. I recommend it to everyone seriously interested in discovering what, why, when & how it all happened. It also contains amusing little snippets of information that allow one to forget the seriousness of the subject.
My only criticism - but then I'm not an academic, economist or bank director - is the author's assumption that the reader will understand all the academic, economic & banking jargon that is necessary to discuss & understand the subject. Without a good dictionary, the average reader - if he's got a normal university degree and a good dose of bulldog spirit - will not find this an easy read... but that is generally true of every book covering so specialised a subject. So, "emptor caveat"! Not withstanding this criticism, I'm so glad I bought this book even though I was obliged to put it down from time to time to rest my over-stretched but admittedly aging brain.
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on 14 January 2009
Glyn Davies presents a superbly fascinating account of money from the earliest times to 2002 and of its various forms from whales' teeth to the euro. I always thought money was well ... notes and greenbacks but it turns out that metallic money (silver and gold) were once all that was regarded as real money. I stopped several times to, perhaps creatively, think how money would have developed in a particular society and how it evolved in use from religious offerings to war payments to trade. How did different societies create and exploit money? In fact the book is very educational as it covers so much of the history of economics and not surprisingly the history of banking. I have a much more intuitive feel for where money came from, how it developed, how it is valued and devalued up to current mania for inflation targeting. This I fear will nourish and enrich my future readings of research papers on economic and monetary policy and of diverse central bank reports. Thank you Glyn.

Be warned, this is a long read. But mightily rewarding.
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on 14 June 2009
I really didn't like this book. It is huge but in a sense it is poor because it does not have a synthetic view of things. It is a long text which kills the reader by drowning him in the details.

As to the content: the views are VERY conventional. It is very academic with little insight into reality.

Sorry, for me it was impossible to read.
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