Anyone interested in the changing sources and functions of gold and
money in Western society will be enlightened and at times diverted
by Vilar's pioneering history. Beginning with a survey of the role
of gold and the various currencies used in ancient and medieval
societies, Vilar goes on to analyze the drive for gold and silver
behind European voyages of discovery and conquest, and the
subsequent impact on Western European economies of the influx of
looted treasure. He concludes his comprehensive account with a
fascinating discussion of the crisis of the 1920s.
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