Since the 2008 financial crisis, the price of gold has skyrocketed—in three years, it has more than doubled from $800 an ounce to $1,900. This massive spike kicked off an unprecedented global gold-mining and exploration boom, much bigger than the Gold Rush of the 1800s. In Gold, acclaimed author Matthew Hart takes you on an unforgettable journey around the world and through history to tell the incredible story of how gold became the world's most precious commodity. Beginning with a dispatch from the crime-ridden, dangerous inferno of the world's deepest mine, Hart pulls back to survey gold's tempestuous past. From the earliest civilizations—6,000 years ago, when gold was an icon of sacred and kingly power—Hart tracks its evolution, through conquest, murder, and international mayhem, into the speculative casino-chip that the metal has become. On this spellbinding journey, you will witness the Spanish plunder of the New World, a century of pillage that crushed the glittering Inca empire of the Andes and transferred its staggering wealth to Europe. Hart describes each boom and bust in gold's long story, each panic and shock, with a masterful storytelling hand, leading up to the present day—to the London vaults that hold the multi-ton hoards of such shadowy investors as the American gold fund called "the Spider," to the amazing gold-rich bamboo forests of eastern Senegal, and to the piratical carnival of theft that enlivens the world's greatest gold-producing engine: China. With writing described by Publishers Weekly as "polished and fiery," Hart weaves together history and cutthroat economics to reveal the human dramas that have driven our lust for a precious yellow metal.