If all the gold ever mined in the history of the world were collected in one place, it would weigh about 125,000 tons. That's not a whole lot, when you consider that people have been mining gold as long as there has been civilization (there are more than 400 references to gold in the Bible). Gold is not very plentiful (it costs a small fortune just to mine the stuff), it's incredibly heavy (a cubic foot weighs half a ton), and it's so soft that you can't do anything practical with it. How, then, did it get to be so darn popular? That's the question Bernstein addresses in this utterly fascinating book. It's not a history of gold itself--there are histories of banking for that, he tells us--but a chronicle of the power and the mystique of gold. What is it about human beings that makes us turn a useless, hard-to-come-by metal into the object of desire, into something we wear, into a symbol of power and wealth? Is it our ability to make gold do anything we want that makes us do anything we can to get it? Never has there been a more enlightening, instructive, and entertaining look at the power of this most precious of metals.