Synopses & Reviews
A complete repackaging of the classic work about grand-scale madness, major schemes, and bamboozlement — and the universal human susceptibility to all three. This informative, funny collection encompasses a broad range of manias and deceptions, from witch burnings to the Great Crusades to the prophecies of Nostradamus.
"As with any true classic, once it is read it is hard to imagine not having known of it — and there is the compulsion to recommend it to others." Andrew Tobias
About the Author
Charles Mackay (1841-1889) was born in Perth Scotland. His mother died shortly after his birth, and his father, who had been in turn a Lieutenant on a Royal Navy sloop (captured and imprisoned for four years in France) and then an Ensign in the 47th foot taking part in the ill-fated Walcheren Expedition where he contracted malaria, sent young Charles to live with a nurse in Woolwich in 1822.
After a couple of years' education in Brussels from 1828-1830, he became a journalist and songwriter in London. He worked on The Morning Chronicle from1835-1844, when he was appointed Editor of The Glasgow Argus. His song "The Good Time Coming" sold 400,000 copies in 1846, the year that he was awarded his Doctorate of Literature by Glasgow University.
He was a friend of influential figures such as Charles Dickens and Henry Russell, and moved to London to work on the Illustrated London News in 1848, and he became Editor of it in 1852. He was a correspondent for the Times during the American Civil War, but thereafter concentrated on writing books.
Apart from Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds, he is best remembered for his songs and his Dictionary of Lowland Scotch.
Review A Day
"Strange catch phrases that Mackay captures as having enjoyed brief popularity in London include 'Quoz,' 'What a shocking bad hat!', 'Walker!' (first syllable said with a drawl, then a quick rise on the second), 'There he goes with his eye out,' and my favorite, 'Has your mother sold her mangle?'" Doug Brown, Powells.com
(read the entire Powells.com review