Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Five best books on money

Jane Kamensky, a history professor at Brandeis University and the author of The Exchange Artist: A Tale of High-Flying Speculation and America's First Banking Collapse, named a five best list of books on money for the Wall Street Journal.

One title on the list:
by Lawrence Weschler
University of Chicago, 1999

Lawrence Weschler plunges headlong into the world of the conceptual artist J.S.G. Boggs with this dizzying, dazzling portrait. Born in New Jersey in 1955, Boggs lived, at the time of Weschler's writing, in London, where the Bank of England had accused him of counterfeiting (he was acquitted). The complaint made some sense: Boggs draws paper currency so accurately that his bills might enter the marketplace undetected. But he doesn't quietly pass them off; he spends them at face value, after providing a full explanation, with any shopkeeper who will agree to play along. Many do. Weschler chased the money artist across Europe and through the looking glass of value, taking detours into history, law, economics and philosophy. Big questions arise on the nature of art and money. What makes a dollar a dollar? Reader, check your wallet.
Read about all five titles on Kamensky's list.

Also see: ten of the best misers in literature.

--Marshal Zeringue