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 "e;biography"e; 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.