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Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

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Author: Charles MacKay
Published: 1852
Language: English
Wordcount: 278,273 / 816 pg
Flesch-Kincaid Reading Ease: 61.1
LoC Category: BF
Downloads: 5,965
Added to site: 2008.02.06
mnybks.net#: 19977
Origin: gutenberg.org

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.

Show Excerpt

mall-pox, was agreeable in its expression, and full of intelligence. At this time he began to neglect his business, and becoming vain of his person, indulged in considerable extravagance of attire. He was a great favourite with the ladies, by whom he was called Beau Law; while the other sex, despising his foppery, nicknamed him Jessamy John. At the death of his father, which happened in 1688, he withdrew entirely from the desk, which had become so irksome, and being possessed of the revenues of the paternal estate of Lauriston, he proceeded to London, to see the world.

He was now very young, very vain, good-looking, tolerably rich, and quite uncontrolled. It is no wonder that, on his arrival in the capital, he should launch out into extravagance. He soon became a regular frequenter of the gaming-houses, and by pursuing a certain plan, based upon some abstruse calculation of chances, he contrived to gain considerable sums. All the gamblers envied him his luck, and many made it a point to watch his play,

Reader Reviews

Average Rating of 5 from 1 reviews: *****
2008.12.18
sam
*****

An excellent look into what drives the masses. The first story about John Law holds so many parallels to modern day United States it's amazing.

A fascinating read for anyone interested in history and how it repeats itself!


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