Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.

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

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

3.2 4
by Matthew Hart

See All Formats & Editions

From the award-winning author of Diamond: A blazing exploration of the human love affair with gold that “combines the engaging style of a travel narrative with sharp-eyed journalistic exposé” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, the price of gold skyrocketed—in three years more than


From the award-winning author of Diamond: A blazing exploration of the human love affair with gold that “combines the engaging style of a travel narrative with sharp-eyed journalistic exposé” (Publishers Weekly, starred review).

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 report from the crime-ridden inferno of the world’s deepest mine, Hart traveled around the world to the sites of the hottest action in gold today, from the biggest new mine in China, to the highly secretive London gold exchange, and the lair of the world’s most powerful gold trader in Geneva, Switzerland. He profiles the leaders of the gold market today, the nature of the current boom, and the likely prospects for the future. From the earliest civilizations, 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. He ends by telling the story of the massive flows of gold that have occurred in the wake of the financial crisis and what the world’s leading experts are saying about the profound changes underway in the gold market and the prospects for the future.

“Compelling, stylish, and impressively researched” (The Boston Globe), Gold is a wonderful historical odyssey with important implications for today’s global economy.

Editorial Reviews

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
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."
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.

Product Details

Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
2 MB

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

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Gold: The Race for the World's Most Seductive Metal 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago