Tuesday 4 February 2014

Book review : Gold - Matthew Hart

To have a heart of gold, golden oldies, silence is golden, golden boy, all that glitters isn't gold ... The vast array of idioms and expressions revolving around the word "gold" show that it symbolises much more than just a precious metal in the hearts and minds of humanity. Matthew Hart's book Gold looks at some of the many shapes and forms that gold takes and what it means to people in different places and times across the globe.

From the dangers of working (and stealing) in the treacherous goldmines of South Africa to the fortunes won and lost by the gold-diggers of California, and from gold-crazed Spanish Conquistadors to the financial chessgame that is the gold standard in the modern world, the author weaves a detailed and meticulously researched narrative that is surprisingly gripping. The book explained many things to me that I'd never really understood (or even really thought about) such as where gold actually comes from or how modern banking works, but it isn't limited to the factual. It also looks at the mythology that has built up around the shiny metal, as well as uncovering a whole darker side where gold and criminality are inextricably linked.

I thought it seemed like a rather random choice of subject matter but the end result is actually a fascinating book, filled with interesting nuggets of information, if you'll excuse the pun !

star rating : 4/5

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd (5 Dec 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849839670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849839679
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 15.8 x 3 cm

RRP : £20

Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.

Other reviews you may be interested in :

Book review : The First Rule of Ten - Gay Hendricks & Tinker Lindsay

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