Hamilton's Blessing by John Steele Gordon

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Our national debt is now so high that most of us have stopped thinking about it, because the prospect of bringing it under control is unimaginable. We consider it a national liability and fear our children will be forced to pay for our current excesses. John Steele Gordon is a welcome antidote. In 1997, his book, Hamilton's Blessing, offered a "biography" of the debt, making it very much a human drama while explaining the myriad, mostly positive, ways it has influenced America's history since Alexander Hamilton first proposed the virtues of a national debt in 1792. However, the 12 years since the book's initial publication have been perhaps the most dramatic in the debt's history-since it has more than doubled and continues on an ever-upward spiral. Now, more than ever, we need John Steele Gordon's wisdom-his revised and expanded edition of Hamilton's Blessing will put this historic expansion in perspective, allowing us to better participate in debate and discussion. Bringing a remarkable national institution to life, Gordon offers, in the process, an original view of American history, and insight into both well- and lesser-known figures who have influenced and charted our voyage, from Hamilton to Jay Cooke to John Maynard Keynes to the present. The national debt helped rescue the Union during the Civil War and raise the nation out of the Depression-thus offering hope it may serve a similar purpose in the decades to come.

About John Steele Gordon

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John Steele Gordon is one of America's leading historians, specializing in business and financial history. A full-time writer for the last nineteen years, Gordon's articles have been published in, among others, Forbes, Forbes FYI, Worth, The New York Times Book Review, The New York Times's and The Wall Street Journal's Op-Ed pages, and The Washington Post's Book World and Outlook. A contributing editor at American Heritage magazine, he has written the “Business of America“column there since 1989. His book, The Business of America (Walker & Company, 2001) is a collection of those columns. A Thread Across the Ocean: The Heroic Story of the Transatlantic Cable (Walker & Company 2002) is Gordon's sixth book. His first book, Overlanding, about his experience driving a Land Rover from New York to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina??ine-month journey of 39,000 miles?? published by Harper & Row in 1975. It was followed by The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street, a history of Wall Street in the 1860?(Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1988), Hamilton's Blessing: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Our National Debt (Walker & Company, 1997), and The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power, 1653-2000 (Scribner, 1999).John Steele Gordon can be heard frequently on Public Radio International's Marketplace, the daily business-news program heard on more than two hundred stations across the country. He has appeared on numerous other radio and television shows, including Business Center on CNBC, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer on PBS, The News with Brian Williams, and c-span's Booknotes with Brian Lamb. In addition, he has appeared in a number of television documentaries about American and economic history, including CNBC's The Great Game, based on his book, and Ric Burns's New York: A Documentary Film. John Steele Gordon lives in North Salem, New York. He is currently writing An Empire of Wealth: A History of the American Economy, to be published by HarperCollins.
Published December 1, 2010 by Walker Books. 224 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History, Political & Social Sciences, Education & Reference. Non-fiction

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American Heritage columnist Gordon (The Scarlet Woman of Wall Street, 1988) deserves credit for attempting a brief history of the national debt aimed at a wide audience, but the result is somewhat disappointing.

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Publishers Weekly

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Gordon deftly profiles a gallery of financial figures, including aluminum magnate Andrew Mellon (Harding's treasury secretary and the father of ""trickle-down economics"") and tough, tubercular Federal Reserve boss Benjamin Strong, whose ill-timed death triggered the 1929 crash.

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