In God We Trust: New Whitman Book Explores the Civil War, Its Effects on American Money, Banking, and Religion

Whitman Publishing announces the release of In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion, by numismatic researcher William Bierly. The 352-page hardcover book will debut in November 2019 at booksellers and hobby shops nationwide–as well as online–for $29.95 USD.

The national motto “In God We Trust” debuted on United States coinage during the chaos and heartache of the American Civil War. It has appeared on our money ever since. Bierly, digging deep into the origins and history of “In God We Trust”, tells its full story for the first time, introducing Reverend Mark Watkinson, the preacher who inspired the Treasury Department to “recognize Almighty God in some form on our coins” . . . Mint Director James Pollock, former governor of Pennsylvania, “a commanding figure” who worked toward the same vision . . . and Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, nephew of an Episcopal bishop, who marshaled the nation’s vast resources and financed the war with bold innovations.

President Abraham Lincoln figures in the tale, as does a cast of military generals, wealthy industrialists, poets and artists, powerful bankers, and everyday Americans, both North and South.

Bierly shows how the upheaval of the Civil War changed not just the face of our coins and paper currency, but the very foundations of modern American banking and finance.

The story continues into the renaissance of beautiful American coinage started by President Theodore Roosevelt in the early 1900s . . . the religious revival of the 1950s, and the “Unwritten Constitution” . . . legal challenges by modern-day atheists . . . and controversy surrounding “In God We Trust”, public and school prayer, Ceremonial Deism, the separation of Church and State, and other topics very relevant in today’s social and political conversations.

Historian Q. David Bowers, former president of the American Numismatic Association (ANA), calls In God We Trust “One of the most detailed, intricate, and fascinating books in the field of American numismatics—and in American history in general.” On the author’s style, Bowers says, “Bierly approaches the subject respectfully on all sides, with color, personality, dashes of humor, and dogged pursuit of the truth.”

In God We Trust is available for preorder now.

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In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking, and Religion

By William Bierly; foreword by Q. David Bowers
ISBN 0794845282
Hardcover, 6 x 9 inches, 352 pages, full color
Retail $29.95 U.S.

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About the Author

William “Bill” Bierly was raised on a farm near Walkerton, Indiana. As a child, he heard stories from his grandparents about two of his great-grandfathers who had served in the Civil War. This led to a lifelong interest in that war and that period of history. At about age eight he began collecting coins from circulating change. Following high school Bierly attended Northwestern University for two years and then completed a degree in sociology and economic development with a minor in Chinese studies at Indiana University. He then worked in India for two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in a dairy development project.

Back in the United States his interest in coins was rekindled. He soon went abroad again, working for three years in Osaka, Japan. Then in the United States he operated a small business for five years, sold it, and entered graduate school, earning an MBA in finance from Indiana University and embarking on a 25-year career in commercial banking. With his overseas experience Bierly focused on international banking, particularly Japanese corporate business and Asian correspondent banking. He began his career at National Bank of Detroit and he worked with J.P. Morgan Chase for much of his career; at various times at the bank’s Detroit, Chicago, and Columbus, Ohio, offices, as well as traveling often to Asia.

While thus engaged, Bierly continued to pursue his coin hobby, eventually specializing in Civil War-era coinage – in particular, pattern coins. Today he is active in several coin groups and clubs, most notably the Central States Numismatic Society (CSNS), the American Numismatic Association, the American Numismatic Society (ANS), the Chicago Coin Club, the Michigan State Numismatic Society, and the Pennsylvania Association of Numismatists (PAN), as well as the Civil War Token Society and the Liberty Seated Collectors Club. He sometimes exhibits his collection at major coin shows and frequently volunteers as an exhibit judge.

Bierly resides in LaPorte, Indiana. He has two children, as well as a granddaughter.
 

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