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Journalist Cooley (Unholy Wars) passionately inveighs against counterfeit money in this lively and well-researched-if occasionally overheated-exposé. Cooley delivers an entertaining history of debased currency, whose origins date back to the third millennium B.C. and has a long history as a weapon of war. Cooley recounts British counterfeiting aimed at destabilizing the American colonies and the 1860s Union effort to spread fake Confederate dollars which contributed to wild inflation in the South. Nazis notoriously used Jewish concentration camp inmates to counterfeit massive quantities of dollars and sterling (depicted in the Oscar-winning Austrian film The Counterfeiters), and Cooley paints a vivid picture of the economic catastrophe this might have caused had all the forgeries been put into circulation. A disturbing recent development has been the flood of "supernotes," superbly forged $100 bills pouring into circulation for 20 years, most likely from North Korea or Iran. Since 1995, the U.S. has redesigned its currency to foil counterfeiters, but the notes continue to appear. According to Cooley, the media prefers to cover more spectacular crimes such as terrorism, although counterfeiting causes greater economic damage; this compelling account illuminates this neglected issue, and readers will not be disappointed. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.