Author(s): Charles Mackay
Charles MacKay's groundbreaking examination of a staggering variety of popular delusions, crazes and mass follies is presented here in full with no abridgements. The text concentrates on a wide variety of phenomena which had occurred over the centuries prior to this book's publication in 1841. Mackay begins by examining economic bubbles, such as the infamous Tulipomania, wherein Dutch tulips rocketed in value amid claims they could be substituted for actual currency. As we progress further, the scope of the book broadens into several more exotic fields of mass self-deception. Mackay turns his attention to the witch hunts of the 17th and 18th centuries, the practice of alchemy, the phenomena of haunted houses, the vast and varied practices of fortune telling and the search for the philosopher's stone, to name but a handful of subjects. Today, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and The Madness of Crowds is distinguished as an expansive, well-researched and somewhat eccentric work of social history.