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The Ascent of Money

In this updated edition, Niall Ferguson brings his classic financial history of the world up to the present day, tackling the populist backlash that followed the 2008 crisis, the descent of “Chimerica” into a trade war, and the advent of cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, with his signature clarity and expert lens. The Ascent of Money reveals finance as the backbone of history, casting a new light on familiar events: the Renaissance enabled by Italian foreign exchange dealers, the French Revolution traced back to a stock market bubble, the 2008 crisis traced from America’s bankruptcy capital, Memphis, to China’s boomtown, Chongqing. We may resent the plutocrats of Wall Street but, as Ferguson argues, the evolution of finance has rivaled the importance of any technological innovation in the rise of civilization. Indeed, to study the ascent and descent of money is to study the rise and fall of Western power itself.

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