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, David Drummond

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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

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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 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.

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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”
From the Publisher
"David Drummond's narration adds to the intrigue with a deep, reverberating voice that grabs listeners' attention." —AudioFile
“[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 - Audio
Hart (The Last Iteration of Dexter Maxwell) here discusses the complex relationship people have had with the much-sought-after mineral from its use in early civilizations to the present. Broad in scope, this audiobook covers prospecting, processing, speculation, trading, and gold's impact upon the world's monetary systems. Included are discussions of the mistreatment of individuals, the underhanded deals, and the calculation of world powers all in the name of possession of gold. Though the work focuses on the history of gold exploration and its effects on those who strive to obtain the mineral, it does give a brief overview of investment opportunities and pitfalls. Reader David Drummond uses expert pacing and unaffected diction to bring life to both the tales of individuals whose lives are affected by the mineral and the often intricate methods of finding, mining, and selling it. VERDICT This title will appeal to history buffs and individuals interested in world economy. ["Hart offers an intriguing look at gold and its impact on economics, finance, and history," read the review of the S. & S. hc, LJ 1/14.]—Lisa Youngblood, Harker Heights P.L., TX
Library Journal
Gold may be the "world's most seductive metal" according to author Hart (Diamond: The History of a Cold-Blooded Love Affair) in this history of gold in civilization and the stories of its acquisition. Each chapter describes key events, including a firsthand account about the work of South African miners and the issues of illegal mining and stolen gold from the mine; 16th-century Spanish plundering of gold from the Incas; the story of the California Gold Rush; the development of the gold standard; gold mining in China in the 21st century; and current speculation and investment in gold and its rising and falling prices that skyrocketed during the financial crisis of 2008. The author focuses on case studies on gold investment, including those by John Livermore and Peter Munk, the latter of who based his research on interviews with those directly involved in the search, as well as investors. VERDICT Hart offers an intriguing look at gold and its impact on economics, finance, and history. Business professors and students, investors, and general readers will find this an informative and fascinating study. [See Prepub Alert, 6/10/13.]—Lucy Heckman, St. John's Univ. Lib., NY
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.

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Product Details

Tantor Media, Inc.
Publication date:
Edition description:
Library - Unabridged CD
Product dimensions:
6.70(w) x 6.40(h) x 1.00(d)

Meet the Author

David Drummond has narrated over seventy audiobooks for Tantor, in genres ranging from current political commentary to historical nonfiction, from fantasy to military, and from thrillers to humor. He has garnered multiple AudioFile Earphones Awards as well as an Audie Award nomination. Visit him at

Brief Biography

London, England
Place of Birth:
Ottawa, Canada

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