Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal by Matthew Hart, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal

Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal

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by Matthew Hart

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From the lost empires of the Sahara to today’s frenzied global gold rush, a blazing exploration of the human love affair with gold by the award-winning author of Diamond.

From the lost empires of the Sahara to today’s frenzied global gold rush, a blazing exploration of the human love affair with gold by Matthew Hart, the award-winning


From the lost empires of the Sahara to today’s frenzied global gold rush, a blazing exploration of the human love affair with gold by the award-winning author of Diamond.

From the lost empires of the Sahara to today’s frenzied global gold rush, a blazing exploration of the human love affair with gold by Matthew Hart, the award-winning author of Diamond

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the price of gold skyrocketed—in three years more than doubling from $800 an ounce to $1900. This massive spike drove an unprecedented global gold-mining and exploration boom, much bigger than the Gold Rush of the 1800s. In Gold, acclaimed author Matthew Hart takes you on an unforgettable journey around the world and through history to tell the extraordinary story of how gold became the world’s most precious commodity.

Beginning with a page-turning dispatch from the crime-ridden inferno of the world’s deepest mine, Hart pulls back to survey gold’s tempestuous past. From the earliest civilizations, 6,000 years ago, when gold was an icon of sacred and kingly power, Hart tracks its evolution, through conquest, murder, and international mayhem, into the speculative casino-chip that the metal has become. Hart describes each boom and bust in gold’s long story, culminating in the swift and startling emergence of China as the world’s new gold titan. In writing that Publishers Weekly calls “polished and fiery,” Hart weaves together history and cutthroat economics to reveal the human dramas that have driven our lust for a precious yellow metal.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
★ 12/02/2013
Object of lustful desire, symbol of the divine, and representation of great temporal wealth, gold has clouded mankind's judgment for millennia. Here, with remarkable clarity, Hart (Diamond) reveals our historical and economic relationship with this beguiling metal. Drawing from solid research, Hart informs us that in recent years of economic uncertainty, demand for gold has surged, increasing both its price and its production. In fact, the total current global supply continues to grow at an incredible rate while being traded with unprecedented speed and ease. With discussions including the modern mines of South Africa, Pizarro's conquest of the Inca, the London Gold Fixing, as well as hedge funds and gold bullion ETFs, the work not only explores the world history of a commodity, but also provides keen insight into the mechanics of the modern gold markets and its driving players. Combining the engaging style of a travel narrative with sharp-eyed journalistic exposé, Hart's lucid book should find an audience ranging from goldbugs and investors to market-watchers and everyday consumers curious to learn how gold has influenced world history and the present economy. (Dec.)
“From deep within the gold mines of South Africa and China to corporate boardrooms, from miners and thieves to body guards and gold traders, Hart (Diamond, 2001) offers a fascinating look at the geology, geopolitics, and economics of gold.”
Columbus Dispatch
“In his absorbing book Gold, Matthew Hart looks at the precious metal both as a mineral … and as an idea that has evolved in dizzyingly strange ways through the millenniums.”
The Daily Beast
“[A]n impressionistic portrait of an industry that blends history, science, colorful character sketches, and lively firsthand accounts of the author’s travels”
“[E]ngaging and rollicking”
"Gold does a splendid job of transporting readers from one defining moment in the history of gold to the next."
Boston Globe
"Hart’s book offers a compelling, stylish, and impressively researched portrait of the history and economics of a metal that has disrupted the world order while enriching some and ruining countless others... He is a talented storyteller."
Library Journal
Since its emergence six millennia ago as the mark of royal or priestly power, gold has dominated our imagination. Veteran journalist Hart offers a history of this glittery, gorgeous metal, ranging from the conquistadores' plunder of South America to the 1800s Gold Rush to the recent doubling of the price of gold from $800 to $1,900 an ounce. Already, several long-lead print and TV and radio sources have expressed interest, so expect big things.
Kirkus Reviews
Overview of gold's perpetual dominance over modern and past societies, focused on historical and economic issues. Characterizing the preceding millennium's obsession with gold as "a murderous, cruel, intoxicating, brutal adventure," Hart (The Irish Game: A True Story of Crime and Art, 2004, etc.) moves swiftly from discussing current armed conflicts in South African mines to Francisco Pizarro's 16th-century assault on the Incan people, which filled Spain's imperial coffers and accelerated Europe's gold-based economy. The author's general approach is to flit between multiple elements pertaining to the topic. Several chapters examine the controversial concept of economies based on the "gold standard" of direct exchange: "The strict operation of the gold standard sent regular waves of misery through the world, as the vagaries of trade would drain a gold supply and lacerate an economy." This resulted in regular convulsions within the United States, providing grist for conspiracy theorists. Hart focuses on watersheds like the 1892 run on gold, Franklin Roosevelt's executive order barring gold hoarding, and the lesser-known account of Richard Nixon's suspension of gold convertability in a startling prime-time speech. Today, the author argues that shadowy gold trading groups like the British "Spider" (from SPDR Gold Shares) establish the market value of gold using complex methodologies not unlike those that precipitated the Great Recession. He also looks at how gold fever has seized post-reform China, the eccentric geologists whose innovations led to enormous strikes beginning in the 1950s, and pulpy tales of stolen gold. Hart is a fine close-in journalist, gathering many engaging facts and anecdotes about gold's production and endless manipulation within the world economy and human psychology, but the lack of a compelling central narrative makes the work feel less cohesive. Recommended for those determined to speculate in gold as an alleged hedge against economic tremors.
From the Publisher
"David Drummond's narration adds to the intrigue with a deep, reverberating voice that grabs listeners' attention." —AudioFile

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
6.38(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.04(d)

Meet the Author

Matthew Hart is a veteran writer and journalist, and author of seven books, including the award-winning Diamond. His work has appeared in The Atlantic Monthly, Granta, the London Times, and The Financial Post Magazine. He was a contributing editor of the New York trade magazine Rapaport Diamond Report, and has appeared on 60 Minutes, CNN, and the National Geographic Channel. He lives in New York City.

Brief Biography

London, England
Place of Birth:
Ottawa, Canada

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