Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds by Charles Mackay

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Synopsis

First published in 1841, this history chronicles the popular foolishness of Mackay's day. It is divided into three broad categories, including 'National Delusions,' 'Peculiar Follies,' and 'Philosophical Delusions.' The author discusses and usually debunks a wide variety of subjects and events. These include economic bubbles like the tulip craze of Holland in 1637 or the Mississippi Company financial bubble of 1719; alchemy, which was of particular interest to individuals who wanted to create gold out of lesser-valued materials; the Crusades, also known as the Middle Ages mania; witch hunts, the persecution of thousands of innocent victims that arose from either supernatural ill fortune or neighbors with a score to settle; duels; the political and religious influence on beards; and several others. This work, with all of its interesting observations, is an entertaining and insightful book that explores the phenomenon of crowd mentality.
 

About Charles Mackay

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Charles Mackay (1841-1889) was born in Perth, Scotland. His mother died shortly after his birth, and his father, who had been in turn a Lieutenant on a Royal Navy sloop (captured and imprisoned for four years in France) and then an Ensign in the 47th foot taking part in the ill-fated Walcheren Expedition where he contracted malaria, sent young Charles to live with a nurse in Woolwich in 1822. After a couple of years' education in Brussels from 1828-1830, he became a journalist and songwriter in London. He worked on The Morning Chronicle from 1835-1844, when he was appointed Editor of The Glasgow Argus. His song The Good Time Coming sold 400,000 copies in 1846, the year that he was awarded his Doctorate of Literature by Glasgow University. He was a friend of influential figures such as Charles Dickens and Henry Russell, and moved to London to work on The Illustrated London News in 1848, and he became Editor of it in 1852. He was a correspondent for The Times during the American Civil War, but thereafter concentrated on writing books. Apart from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, he is best remembered for his songs and his Dictionary of Lowland Scotch.
 
Published December 14, 2009 by Digireads.com. 402 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Health, Fitness & Dieting, History, Political & Social Sciences, Religion & Spirituality, Literature & Fiction, Law & Philosophy, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical. Non-fiction

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