This article submitted by Whitman's Dennis Tucker includes more sample pages from Bill Bierly's upcoming book on the "In God We Trust" motto. Thanks!
Sometimes in the numismatic world, it can
seem like there's nothing new under the sun—as if every subject has been researched, every story told. This is an illusion. In reality, numismatics is a living, breathing
discipline, rich with ongoing study, startling discoveries, and freshly revealed connections that span the depth and breadth of human experience. The story that William Bierly has
woven together in his new book, In God We Trust, illustrates this vibrancy.
I met Bill several years ago after a meeting of the Chicago Coin Club, held at the American Numismatic Association's annual World's Fair of Money. We were introduced by Robert
Leonard (another member of the Club, and a Whitman author). Bob assured me that Bill had a very promising manuscript proposal. Our conversation that followed convinced me that he
was on to something big, something new and significant.
Many coin collectors know little of the national motto, "In God We Trust," beyond the knowledge summed up in a single sentence in the "Two-Cent Pieces" section of the Guide
Book of United States Coins (the "Red Book"): "The motto IN GOD WE TRUST appeared for the first time on the new coin, with the personal support of Treasury Secretary Salmon P.
Chase." The words are factual. But that's like saying, "Abraham Lincoln was elected president of the United States in 1860 and served during the Civil War"—and allowing this to be
the sum of your knowledge of the man!
Articles about the motto have been published in numismatic magazines and journals over the years. None have approached the detail and intricacy that Bill Bierly brought to his
research. From time to time, mainstream (non-numismatic) writers also mention "In God We Trust," often when school prayer, public prayer, the separation of Church and State,
atheist lawsuits, and similar subjects are in the headlines. Articles in popular publications often gloss over the details, and sometimes even get the facts wrong.
To set the record straight, Bill Bierly has followed leads, researched in archives and libraries, interviewed historians local and national, and gathered images. He has tracked
down and dispelled rumors and half-true tales. And he has expanded the context of "In God We Trust" to show how the Civil War changed American banking, finance, and business
forever. The result of his work is a fascinating exploration of a simple but profound four-word motto that has appeared on hundreds of billions of U.S. coins and paper-money
In God We Trust is an important addition to the body of historical research, and a sterling example of how numismatics touches every aspect of American life.
In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion
By William Bierly; foreword by Q. David Bowers
Hardcover, 6 x 9 inches, 352 pages, full color
Retail $29.95 U.S.
For more information, or to order, see:
To read the earlier E-Sylum article, see:
NEW BOOK: IN GOD WE TRUST (https://www.coinbooks.org/v22/esylum_v22n41a04.html)
Wayne Homren, Editor
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