The lively and enthralling tale of three notorious counterfeiters offers insights into the makings of the American financial mind. Tarnoff chronicles the lives of three colorful counterfeiters who flourished in early America, shedding fresh light on the country's financial coming of age. The speculative ethos that pervades Wall Street today, Tarnoff suggests, has its origins in the craft of counterfeiters who first took advantage of a turbulent American economy. Few nations have as rich a counterfeiting history as the United States. Since the colonies suffered from a chronic shortage of precious metals, they were the first place in the Western world to use easily forged paper bills. And until the national currency was standardized in the last half of the nineteenth century, the United States had a dizzying variety of banknotes, making early America a counterfeiter's paradise. Tarnoff recounts how three of America's most successful counterfeiters - Owen Sullivan, David Lewis, and Samuel Upham - each cunningly manipulated the political and economic realities of his day, driven by a desire for fortune and fame.