Our national debt is now so high that most of us have stopped thinking
about it, because the prospect of bringing it under control is
unimaginable. We consider it a national liability and fear our children
will be forced to pay for our current excesses. John Steele Gordon is a
welcome antidote. In 1997, his book, Hamilton's Blessing, offered a
“biography” of the debt, making it very much a human drama while
explaining the myriad, mostly positive, ways it has influenced America's
history since Alexander Hamilton first proposed the virtues of a
national debt in 1792.
However, the 12 years since the book's
initial publication have been perhaps the most dramatic in the debt's
history-since it has more than doubled and continues on an ever-upward
spiral. Now, more than ever, we need John Steele Gordon's wisdom-his
revised and expanded edition of Hamilton's Blessing will put this
historic expansion in perspective, allowing us to better participate in
debate and discussion.
Bringing a remarkable national
institution to life, Gordon offers, in the process, an original view of
American history, and insight into both well- and lesser-known figures
who have influenced and charted our voyage, from Hamilton to Jay Cooke
to John Maynard Keynes to the present. The national debt helped rescue
the Union during the Civil War and raise the nation out of the
Depression-thus offering hope it may serve a similar purpose in the
decades to come.