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Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds

Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds
Charles Mackay
New York : Three Rivers Press, 1990
AZ999 .M2 1990z

"Every age has its particular folly; some scheme, project, or phantasy into which it plunges, spurred on by the love of gain, the necessity of excitement, or the mere force of imitation," said author Charles Mackay in 1841. It was true then, and it is certainly true now.

This intelligent, humorous collection of popular delusions, from money mania to religious relics, has become a classic study of mass manias, crowd behavior, and human folly. The book encompasses a broad range of scams, and deceptions, including witch burnings, the Great Crusades, the prophecies of Nostradamus, and tulipmania - where speculators lost fortunes on a single tulip bulb. Here are the human quirks that make hemlines rise and fall, hairstyles change, and beards sprout.

For every reader who has ever been a part of it all - remember McCarthyism and Elvis? - or is it just curious about grand-scale madness, major schemes, and bamboozlement, here is a book that shows how any age, even ours, is susceptible to mindless hysteria.

In the foreword to Extraordinary Popular Delusions & the Madness of Crowds, Andrew Tobias says: "As with any true classic, once it is read it is hard to imagine not having known of it - and there is the compulsion to recommend it to others."

Quoted from dustjacket.