Press

Democracy

 “[E]ngaging and easy to read, but not at all elementary…a compelling examination of the animal spirits, greed, obsession, and passion that have so driven American politics. For a meticulously researched tome on partisan politics and monetary policy, it reads a lot like a romp.”
—Annie Lowrey, Democracy

BreakingViews / Reuters

“Gold, [One Nation Under Gold] argues, is woven into the American DNA. . . . Ledbetter’s account of gold’s association with populism illuminates how these two interests have blurred.”
—Kate Duguid, BreakingViews

Wall Street Journal

“[A] chronicle of the American people’s fascination with gold. . . . [Ledbetter’s] well-spun narrative spans the better part of four centuries.”
—James Grant, Wall Street Journal

Washington Post

James Ledbetter weaves a highly readable tale, literally from the origins of the republic to the dubious sponsors of Glenn Beck on Fox News (a brilliant concluding chapter). Too often, this kind of economic history becomes dry and even soporific. But Ledbetter — the editor of Inc. magazine — has a fine eye for personality and ideas; each of the 12 chapters puts you on the spot at a critical moment on the American journey with gold, with anecdotes nicely blended to create the broader historical context.
—Simon Johnson, Washington Post

Fortune

“A surprisingly readable history of U.S. fiscal policy. Starting with America’s earliest currencies . . . the book traces the chaotic end of the gold standard and dissects our modern obsession with trying to bring it back . . . . [Ledbetter’s] measured, persuasive conclusion after surveying two centuries of haphazard fiscal decision making is that a return to a gold standard would be a deeply bad idea. Consider this a must read for the gold bugs in your life.”
—Anne VanderMey, Fortune

Booklist

“Recounting gold’s fall under Franklin Roosevelt—it was decoupled from the dollar and banned from private ownership—Ledbetter explains the repercussions of the revival of a gold standard in 1944, Nixon’s 1971 abandonment of it, and the relegalization of gold-ownership in 1974. A vibrant and fascinating account of monetary gold’s volatile fortunes in the U.S.”
Booklist

 Kirkus Reviews

“Ledbetter has a knack for finding the most interesting, if sometimes-obscure, pleas for gold, many offered by government officials. . . . An absorbing and often entertaining look at precious metal and its place—or lack thereof—in our wallets.”
Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“An excellent book for those well-versed in economic topics. . . . Ledbetter hews closely to the financial aspects of gold as an influence on the country’s progress, though he does touch upon some of the cultural, technological, and artistic roles it has played—such as the fate of the Golden Rooster of Las Vegas—which makes for some entertaining diversions. . . . A solid look at America’s golden history.”
Publishers Weekly