James Grant’s story of America’s last governmentally untreated depression: A bible for conservative economists, this “carefully researched history…makes difficult economic concepts easy to understand, and it deftly mixes major events with interesting vignettes” (The Wall Street Journal).

In 1920-1921, Woodrow Wilson and Warren G. Harding met a deep economic slump by seeming to ignore it, implementing policies that most twenty-first century economists would call backward. Confronted with plunging prices, wages, and employment, the government balanced the budget and, through the Federal Reserve, raised interest rates. No “stimulus” was administered, and a powerful, job-filled recovery was under way by late 1921. Yet by 1929, the economy spiraled downward as the Hoover administration adopted the policies that Wilson and Harding had declined to put in place.

In The Forgotten Depression, James Grant “makes a strong case against federal intervention during economic downturns” (Pittsburgh Tribune Review), arguing that the well-intended White House-led campaign to prop up industrial wages helped turn a bad recession into America’s worst depression. He offers examples like this, and many others, as important strategies we can learn from the earlier depression and apply today and to the future. This is a powerful response to the prevailing notion of how to fight recession, and “Mr. Grant’s history lesson is one that all lawmakers could take to heart” (Washington Times).
The power of India reached its pre-British Raj height under the Maratha Empire or the Maratha Confederacy which was an Indian imperial power that existed from 1674 to 1818. At its peak, the empire covered much of India, encompassing a territory of over 2.8 million km2. The Marathas are credited for ending the Mughal rule in India.
The Marathas were a yeoman warrior group from the western Deccan that rose to prominence during the rule of the Adil Shahi dynasty and Ahmadnagar Sultanate. The empire was founded by Shivaji Bhosle, who formally crowned himself Chhatrapati ("Emperor") with Raigad as his capital in 1674, and successfully fought against the Mughal Empire. The Maratha Empire waged war for 27 years with the Mughals from 1681 to 1707, which became the longest war in the history of India. Shivaji, pioneered "Shiva sutra" or Ganimi Kava (guerrilla tactics), which leveraged strategic factors like demographics, speed, surprise and focused attack to defeat his bigger and more powerful enemies. After the death of the Mughal Emperor Aurangzeb, the empire expanded greatly under the rule of the Peshwas. The empire at its peak stretched from Tamil Nadu in the south, to Peshawar (modern-day Pakistan) on the Afghanistan border in the north, and Bengal and Andaman Islands in east. In 1761, the Maratha army lost the Third Battle of Panipat to Abdali’s Afghan Durrani Empire, which halted their imperial expansion. Ten years after Panipat, young Madhavrao Peshwa reinstated the Maratha authority over North India. In a bid to effectively manage the large empire, he gave semi-autonomy to the strongest of the knights, which created a confederacy of Maratha states. In 1775, the British East India Company intervened in a succession struggle in Pune, which became the First Anglo-Maratha War. Marathas remained the preeminent power in India until their defeat in the Second and Third Anglo-Maratha wars (1805–1818), which left the British East India Company in control of most of India.
James Grant’s enthralling biography of Thomas B. Reed, Speaker of the House during one of the most turbulent times in American history—the Gilded Age, the decades before the ascension of reformer President Theodore Roosevelt—brings to life one of the brightest, wittiest, and most consequential political stars in our history.

The last decades of the nineteenth century were a volatile era of rampantly corrupt politics. It was a time of both stupendous growth and financial panic, of land bubbles and passionate and sometimes violent populist protests. Votes were openly bought and sold in a Congress paralyzed by the abuse of the House filibuster by members who refused to respond to roll call even when present, depriving the body of a quorum. Reed put an end to this stalemate, empowered the Republicans, and changed the House of Representatives for all time.

The Speaker’s beliefs in majority rule were put to the test in 1898, when the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in Havana Harbor set up a popular clamor for war against Spain. Reed resigned from Congress in protest.

A larger-than-life character, Reed checks every box of the ideal biographical subject. He is an important and significant figure. He changed forever the way the House of Representatives does its business. He was funny and irreverent. He is, in short, great company. “What I most admire about you, Theodore,” Reed once remarked to his earnest young protégé, Teddy Roosevelt, “is your original discovery of the Ten Commandments.”

After he resigned his seat, Reed practiced law in New York. He was successful. He also found a soul mate in the legendary Mark Twain. They admired one another’s mordant wit. Grant’s lively and erudite narrative of this tumultuous era—the raucous late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—is a gripping portrait of a United States poised to burst its bounds and of the men who were defining it.
The Critical Imagination is a study of metaphor, imaginativeness, and criticism of the arts. Since the eighteenth century, many philosophers have argued that appreciating art is rewarding because it involves responding imaginatively to a work. Literary works can be interpreted in many ways; architecture can be seen as stately, meditative, or forbidding; and sensitive descriptions of art are often colourful metaphors: music can 'shimmer', prose can be 'perfumed', and a painter's colouring can be 'effervescent'. Engaging with art, like creating it, seems to offer great scope for imagination. Hume, Kant, Oscar Wilde, Roger Scruton, and others have defended variations on this attractive idea. In this book, James Grant critically examines it. The first half explains the role imaginativeness plays in criticism. To do this, Grant answers three questions that are of interest in their own right. First, what are the aims of criticism? Is the point of criticizing a work to evaluate it, to explain it, to modify our response to it, or something else? Second, what is it to appreciate art? Third, what is imaginativeness? He gives new answers to all three questions, and uses them to explain the role of imaginativeness in criticism. The book's second half focuses on metaphor. Why are some metaphors so effective? How do we understand metaphors? Are some thoughts expressible only in metaphor? Grant's answers to these questions go against much current thinking in the philosophy of language. He uses these answers to explain why imaginative metaphors are so common in art criticism. The result is a rigorous and original theory of metaphor, criticism, imaginativeness, and their interrelations.
 There are two parts to the investment equation: (1) How to make money from investing and (2) how to avoid losing it. This book deals with the second objective.

Investors can prosper from small mistakes because they teach valuable lessons, but large mistakes (blunders) wipe out large amounts of capital and ruin lives. Blunders result in lost opportunities, children not going to college, or retirement being postponed or permanently abandoned. Severe losses can produce depression, failed marriages, and even suicide.

How do investors stumble into blunders? They are not prepared, and they are ill-informed. They invest in inappropriate investments, and their timing is bad. They listen to bad forecasts by economists, portfolio managers, CEOs, journalists, and security analysts. Just because an investment product exists does not mean it should be bought. Some investments like mortgage bonds and variable annuities are structurally flawed and too dangerous for average investors.

Blunders occur as a result of misleading statements by the media. They also occur due to scams. Investors are way too gullible and greedy. The investment landscape is treacherous, and it is important for investors to pay attention and employ healthy amounts of skepticism. Investors must employ less emotion and more reason. Investing is not a hobby!

There are many resources to guide investors on how to make money in investing, but there are few guides on how to avoid losing money. The information deficit in Avoiding Investment Blunders is significant. This book contains detailed guidance and occasional colorful examples of the author’s missteps and the mistakes of others.

Investment blunders are, therefore, financial disasters that must be avoided at all cost. Investment blunders usually only happen once per person per lifetime. This book will help ensure that blunders do not happen at all!

On the evening of the last day of June 1806, the transports which had brought our troops from Sicily anchored off the Italian coast, in the Bay of St. Eufemio, a little to the southward of a town of that name.

The British forces consisted of H. M. 27th, 58th, 78th, and 81st Regiments of the Line, the Provisional Light Infantry and Grenadier Battalions, the Corsican Rangers, Royal Sicilian Volunteers, and the Regiment of Sir Louis de Watteville, &c., the whole being commanded by Major-General Sir John Stuart, to whose personal staff I had the honour to be attached.

This small body of troops, which mustered in all only 4,795 rank and file, was destined by our ministry to support the Neapolitans, who in many places had taken up arms against the usurper, Joseph Buonaparte, and to assist in expelling from Italy the soldiers of his brother. Ferdinand, King of Naples, after being an abject vassal of Napoleon, had allowed a body of British and Russian soldiers to land on his territories without resistance. This expedition failed; he was deserted by the celebrated Cardinal Ruffo, who became a Buonapartist; and as the French emperor wanted a crown for his brother Joseph, he proclaimed that "the Neapolitan dynasty had ceased to reign"—that the race of Parma were no longer kings in Lower Italy—and in January 1806 his legions crossed the frontiers. The "lazzaroni king" fled instantly to Palermo; his spirited queen, Carolina (sister of the unfortunate Marie Antoinette), soon followed him; and the usurper, Joseph, after meeting with little or no resistance, was, in February, crowned king of Naples and Sicily, in the church of Sancto Januario, where Cardinal Ruffo of Scylla, performed solemn mass on the occasion. All Naples and its territories submitted to him, save the brave mountaineers of the Calabrias, who remained continually in arms, and with whom we were destined to co-operate.

When our anchors plunged into the shining sea, it was about the close of a beautiful evening—the hour of Ave Maria—and the lingering light of the Ausonian sun, setting in all his cloudless splendour, shed a crimson glow over the long line of rocky coast, burnishing the bright waves rolling on the sandy beach, and the wooded mountains of Calabria, the abode of the fiercest banditti in the world.

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Boiling with rage at Louis's insulting defiance, Ronald returned to his quarters in the Alcanzar, determined at day-break to summon him forth, to fight or apologize. He often repeated the words, "Her heart has never wandered from you." Ah! if this should indeed be the case, and that Alice loved him after all! But from Louis, his honour demanded a full explanation and ample apology, either of which he feared the proud spirit of the other would never stoop to grant. Yet, to level a deadly weapon against the brother of Alice,—against him to whom he had been a constant friend and companion in childhood and maturer youth, and perhaps by a single shot to destroy him, the hopes and the peace of his amiable father and sister, he felt that should this happen, he never could forgive himself. But there was no alternative: it was death or dishonour.

Two ways lay before him,—to fight or not to fight; and his sense of injured honour made him, without hesitation, choose the first, and he waited in no ordinary anxiety for the dawn, when Alister Macdonald, who was absent on duty, would return to the quarters of the regiment.

Next morning, when the grey daylight was beginning faintly to show the dark courts and gloomy arcades of the Alcanzar, he sprung from his couch, which had been nothing else than his cloak laid on the polished floor tiles; and undergoing a hasty toilette, he was about to set forth in search of Macdonald, when Lieutenant Chisholm, one of the officers, entered.

"What! up already, Stuart?" said he; "I hope you are not on any duty?"

"No. Why?"

"Because Lisle has asked me to wait upon you."

"Upon me?" asked Ronald, with a frown of surprise. "Upon me, Chisholm?"

"Yes: of course you will remember what occurred in the cathedral last night?"

"How could I ever forget? Mr. Lisle, under its roof, insulted me most grossly," replied Ronald, his lips growing white with anger. "I was just about to seek Macdonald to give him a message, but Mr. Lisle has anticipated me."

"For Heaven's sake, Stuart, let us endeavour to settle this matter amicably! Think of the remorse which an honourable survivor must always feel. A hundred men slain in action are nothing to one life lost in a duel."

"Address these words to your principal,—they are lost on me; but you are an excellent fellow, Chisholm!"

"It is long since we have had an affair of this sort among us, and Cameron is quite averse to this mode of settling disputes."

"I shall not consult his opinion, or that of any other man, in defence of my own honour," said Ronald haughtily.

"As you please," replied the other, with an air of pique. "Lisle and you have long been on very distant terms, and the officers have always predicted that the matter would terminate in this way."

"Curse their impertinent curiosity! And so Lisle calls me out in consequence of the high words we exchanged in the cathedral last night?"

"That is one reason—the least one, I believe. He mentioned that his sister, Miss Lisle—"

"Stay, Chisholm! I will hear no more of this," cried Stuart; then suddenly changing his mind added, "Ah! well; his sister—Miss Alice Lisle. Go on."

"Faith, Stuart, you seem confoundedly confused. Do settle this matter in peace. Lisle has told me the story, in confidence, and I think you have been to blame,—indeed you have. Send Lisle an apology, for I assure you he is boiling with passion, and will not yield a hair's breadth."

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"Well, Ronald, my bon camarado, and so you are really here, and in safety?" said Macdonald as he came up at the head of his sub-division. "Quite well now, I perceive. You received my letter from your servant, of course?"

"Yes. I have a thousand strange adventures to tell you of; but I will reserve them for the halt, which I suppose will be at the castle of Zagala. But meanwhile, let me hear the regimental news."

"Defer that till the halt also,—talking is dry work. A few rank and file were knocked on the head at Fuente del Maistre; but the officers, you may see, are all present. We feared you were on your route for France, when we heard that Dombrouski's dragoons were in Merida."

"A daring deed it was, for a handful of men to advance thus."

"Daring indeed!"

"But then they were Poles,—and the Poles are no common troops. Sad work, however, they have made at Merida. Every shop and house in the Plaza has been gutted and destroyed."

"More shame to the citizens! A city containing five or six thousand inhabitants, should have made some resistance to so small a party."

"Ay; but the cits here are not like what our Scottish burghers were two centuries ago,—grasping axe and spear readily at the slightest alarm. By Sir Rowland's orders, Thiele, the German engineer, blew up the Roman bridge, to prevent D'Erlon from pressing upon part of the 13th, who form the rear-guard."

"'Twas a pity to destroy so perfect a relic of antiquity."

"It was dire necessity."

"Did you see any thing of our friends in the Calle de Guadiana,—the house at the corner of the Plaza?"

"Ah! Donna Catalina's residence? Blushing again! Why, no; it was dark, and I was so fatigued when we marched through the market-place, that I could not see the house, and Fassifern is so strict that it is impossible to leave the ranks. But I could observe that nearly all the houses above the piazzas are in ruins. However, we have captured nearly every man of the ravagers. A glorious-looking old fellow their commander is,—a French chef-de-bataillon,—Monsieur le Baron de Clappourknuis, as he styles himself."

"Clappourknuis? That has a Scottish sort of sound."

"The name is purely Scottish. I had a long conversation with him an hour since. He is grandson of the famous John Law of Laurieston, and brother of the French general, the great Marquis of Laurieston.[*] He takes his title of Clappourknuis from some little knowes, which stand between the old castle of Laurieston and the Frith of Forth. What joy and enthusiasm he displayed at sight of our regiment, and the 71st! 'Ah, mon ami!' he exclaimed, holding up his hands. 'Braave Scots,—very superb troupes!' he added, in his broken English, and the soldiers gave him a hearty cheer. He is a true Frenchman of the old school, and has a peculiar veneration for Scotland, which is only equalled by his bitter hatred for England; and all my arguments were lost in endeavouring to prove to him that we are one people,—one nation now. There is one of the 71st, a relation of the Laurieston family: I must introduce him to the baron, who seems to have a great affection for all who come from the land of his fathers.—A handsome young man, apparently, this Louis Lisle, our new sub."

To the political or historical reader, the names of the marquis and his brother will be familiar. The house of Laurieston stands within four miles from Edinburgh, on the south bank of the Forth.

"Very agreeable you'll find him, I dare say," replied Ronald, colouring slightly.

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In the Highlands of Perthshire a deadly feud had existed, from time immemorial, between the Lisles of Inchavon and the Stuarts of Lochisla. In the days when the arm of the law was weak, the proprietors had often headed their kinsmen and followers in encounters with the sword, and for the last time during the memorable civil war of 1745-6. But between the heads of the families, towards the latter end of the last century, (the period when our tale commences,) although the era of feudal ideas and outrages had passed away, the spirit of transmitted hatred, proud rivalry and revenge, lurked behind, and a feeling of most cordial enmity existed between Stuart and Lisle, who were ever engaged in vexatious law-suits on the most frivolous pretences, and constantly endeavouring to cross each other's interests and intentions,—quarrelling at public meetings,—voting on opposite sides,—prosecuting for trespasses, and opposing each other every where, "as if the world was not wide enough for them both;" and on one occasion a duel would have ensued but for the timely interference of the sheriff.

Sir Allan Lisle of Inchavon, a man of a quiet and most benevolent disposition, was heartily tired of the trouble given him by the petty jealousy of his neighbour Stuart, a proud and irritable Highlander, who would never stoop to reconciliation with a family whom his father (a grim duinhe-wassal of the old school) had ever declared to him were the hereditary foes of his race. The reader may consider it singular that such antiquated prejudices should exist so lately as the end of the last century; but it must be remembered that the march of intellect has not made such strides in the north country as it has done in the Lowlands, and many of the inhabitants of Perthshire will recognise a character well known to them, under the name of Mr. Stuart.

It must also be remembered, that he was the son of a man who had beheld the standard of the Stuarts unfurled in Glenfinan, and had exercised despotic power over his own vassals when the feudal system existed in its full force, before the act of the British parliament abolished the feudal jurisdictions throughout Scotland, and absolved the unwilling Highlanders from allegiance to their chiefs.

Sir Allan Lisle (who was M.P. for a neighbouring county) was in every respect a man of superior attainments to Stuart,—being a scholar, the master of many modern accomplishments, and having made the grand tour. To save himself further annoyance, he would gladly have extended the right hand of fellowship to his stubborn neighbour, but pride forbade him to make the first advances.

The residence of this intractable Gael was a square tower, overgrown with masses of ivy, and bearing outwardly, and almost inwardly, the same appearance as when James the Fifth visited it once when on a hunting excursion. The walls were enormously thick; the grated windows were small and irregular; a corbelled battlement surmounted the top, from the stone bartizan of which the standard of the owner was, on great days, hoisted with much formality by Donald Iverach, the old piper, or Evan his son, two important personages in the household of the little tower.

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