Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

by Charles MacKay

Popular delusions began so early, spread so widely, and have lasted so long, that instead of two or three volumes, fifty would scarcely suffice to detail their history. The present may be considered more of a miscellany of delusions than a history--a chapter only in the great and awful book of human folly which yet remains to be written, and which Porson once jestingly said he would write in five hundred volumes! Interspersed are sketches of some lighter matters,--amusing instances of the imitativeness and wrongheadedness of the people, rather than examples of folly and delusion.Religious matters have been purposely excluded as incompatible with the limits prescribed to the present work; a mere list of them would alone be sufficient to occupy a volume.

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