William Silber’s colorful narrative is one of personalities as much as it is of ideas and events ... Mr. Silber is a fine hand at explaining the mechanics of the bimetallic system as well as the inside details of the modern silver market ... You can’t accuse Mr. Silber of understating the place of silver in world history. Or in the canon of conspiracy ... On the institution of modern currency, Mr. Silber wisely concludes that the jury is still out.
If you thought a book entitled The Story of Silver: How the White Metal Shaped America and the Modern World and published by the venerable and academic Princeton University Press would be a dull, dense, heavily-footnoted tome, you’d be wrong ... The Story of Silver is two different books threaded together. The first is a detailed history of silver—in the United States...The second is a page-turner of a financial-political multi-generational thriller worthy of, say, John Grisham, filled with larger-than-life speculators, businessmen, manipulators, crooks and politicians—it not always being easy to tell them apart ... Silber tells the story of these outsized personalities and financial shenanigans with gusto and evident relish ... Silber writes with verve ... Silber manages to provide cogent explanations of how metal-based currency systems work, or don’t, as well as flesh out some fascinating yet lesser-known denizens of, in particular, the US Senate over the past century and a half ... It is something a shame that Silber starts his story only with the founding of the United States, for the history of silver and its effect on the world economy goes back at least to mid-16th century ... might serve as a useful refresher for those who (still) think that national currencies should be backed one-for-one by precious metals.
Deeply researched and authoritative ... Silber’s detailed recounting of the fluctuating prices of silver throughout history is enlivened by portraits of some obsessed silver investors, including psychiatrist Henry Jarecki and Nelson Bunker Hunt, a right-wing oil baron who was once the world’s richest man ... A well-informed history of silver’s allure.