John Law : A Scottish Adventurer of the Eighteenth Century

James Buchan
MacLehose Press £30.00
by SRB

Books of the Year 2018- A Literary Advent Calendar

December 11, 2018 | by SRB

 

We’ve asked Scotland’s leading writers, booksellers, festival directors and critics to pick one, or two, books — published this year or in the past — that they most enjoyed reading in 2018. There will be new selections every day throughout December — so keep reading for great ideas about what to read next and visit your nearest high street bookshop to purchase your Christmas gifts! Today’s selection is from Harry McGrath.

John  Law: A Scottish Adventurer of the Eighteenth Century

By James Buchan

John Law was a speculator, a millionaire, a convicted murderer, an outlaw and an economic theorist.  He was appointed Controller General of the Finances of France in 1720 having just launched the greatest stock market speculation of all time (the Mississippi Bubble). Law is a wonderful subject for a popular, comprehensive biography and James Buchan, as it turns out, is the perfect man to deliver it. Law is famous – or infamous – in France but Buchan’s wide ranging research sheds new light on his life there. Of particular interest, however, is his treatment of Law’s early years in Scotland and his fruitless attempt to sell his economic ideas to the pre-Union Scottish Parliament.

Harry McGrath reviews for the Scottish Review of Books, The Herald and The National.

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