Far too many financial histories inhabit the shelves and stacks that have one thing in common: an intellectual agenda in search of support. This work is a uniquely refreshing exception. It is a work that distinctly deserves the scholarly recognition it has received – from many, diverse audiences.
I enjoy reading in this subject area. This particular work was delicious for me for a myriad of reasons. Here are a few:
1. Linguistics – Lepler’s appreciation for the words, terms and phrases people used to describe their life experience was precious to me. It is too often overlooked by other authors.
2. The sheer depth and breadth of Lepler’s research was, to say the least, unique and vividly rewarding for her readers.
3. Lepler’s appreciation for the impact of “culture” was quite apparent – again and again – enlightening.
4. AGAIN – Far too many authors who write financial histories seem to have a thesis that they attempt to validate via the introduction of a supporting narrative – such is the human penchant to “be right” and get at “the truth.” Lepler’s methodology and multi-dimensional approach to the issue of “many” panics was terribly refreshing.
5. It was a pleasure to read a financial history book that was authored by a bonafide historian vs. an economist or a political hack with an agenda. The author’s objective dedication to her scholarly craft was apparent on every page.
6. The author’s critiques of other works were, in my opinion, “spot on.” I was grateful for the courage to say what she wrote.
7. I adored the characters brought to life. It made the book fascinating.
8. Lepler’s appreciation for epistemology was apparent throughout.
9. The author’s contributions from the “phrenology folks” were priceless.
10. Lepler’s focus on the impact of communication (or lack thereof) between persons, media outlets of the day, groups and organizations (and governments) is a fundamentally important dimension of the author’s contribution.
As Lepler states on page 253: “Even when economic events seem beyond the control of any individual, the shaping of their meaning remains within our grasp.” – How marvelously this work remained true to this statement – in every sense of the phrase.
My edition of the “Many Panics” by Jessica M. Lepler is marked up like a child writing with crayon on a kitchen wall. This book is a treasure for me and I have learned to become a better researcher and story teller because of it. It is simply VERY rare to have the privilege to devour and digest such a magnificent work. I sincerely hope that Lepler’s dedication to a tireless methodological approach for source documents will serve to inspire other historians and writers – and students – as this work inspired me. This work will occupy a prominent position in my personal library. I will refer to it quite often.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS WORK!!!