Best book on tulip mania

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best book on tulip mania

Tulip mania: the classic story of a Dutch financial bubble is mostly wrong | The Independent

T he late Miles Kington once protested that "frankly, one book about tulips is about as much as people can take". If that's so, then Goldgar's Tulipmania should be that book. This meticulously researched account overturns much of what has been said about the most infamous financial bubble in history. In the mids, Holland went tulip crazy. According to the standard account, fortunes changed hands for a single bulb until, in February , the bottom fell out of the market. Thousands of bulb traders were ruined, as was the Dutch economy. Except that this isn't true.
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The Dutch Tulip Mania (aka Tulipomania, aka Tulip Bubble) Explained in One Minute

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When tulips came to the Netherlands, all the world went mad. A sailor who mistook a rare tulip bulb for an onion and ate it with his herring sandwich was charged with a felony and thrown in prison. A bulb named Semper Augustus, notable for its flame-like white and red petals, sold for more than the cost of a mansion in a fashionable Amsterdam neighborhood, complete with coach and garden. As the tulip market grew, speculation exploded, with traders offering exorbitant prices for bulbs that had yet to flower. And then, as any financial bubble will do, the tulip market imploded, sending traders of all incomes into ruin.

Bitcoin is being compared to tulips, but I researched tulip mania for years and found no evidence of mass bankruptcies or economic meltdown. Why this lasting fixation on tulip mania? It certainly makes an exciting story, one that has become a byword for insanity in the markets. The same aspects of it are constantly repeated, whether by casual tweeters or in widely read economics textbooks by luminaries such as John Kenneth Galbraith. Tulip mania was irrational, the story goes. Tulip mania was a frenzy.

Money, Honor, and Knowledge in the Dutch Golden Age

Why this lasting fixation on tulip mania? It certainly makes an exciting story, one that has become a byword for insanity in the markets. The same aspects of it are constantly repeated, whether by casual tweeters or in widely read economics textbooks by luminaries such as John Kenneth Galbraith. Tulip mania was irrational, the story goes. Tulip mania was a frenzy. Everyone in the Netherlands was involved, from chimney-sweeps to aristocrats.

Above all, this is revisionist history of the best kind. Its devastating and original demolition of the myth of Tulip mania, the fineness of historical judgment and the painstaking reconstructions so effortlessly conveyed on the page make it a pleasure to read. The bulb buyers and sellers were good middle-class merchants, not so far removed from knowledgeable connoisseurs and art-lovers. Delightfully written, Tulipmania turns the exaggerations of a media event into an exploration of early modern values and anxieties. Economics and Business: Economics--History. History: Discoveries and Exploration European History. You may purchase this title at these fine bookstores.

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