These essays, written between 1978 and 1988, expand, revise, and apply Charles Kindleberger's influential ideas on the nature of economic crises and the possible sources of economic order in an increasingly interdependent world. With sharp insight and a fluid style, Kindleberger looks at both present and past financial crises to determine what conditions have led to economic instability. The Great Depression is a starting point for his discussion; but he also looks at booms and busts as far back as 1720 and as recent as the October 1987 stock market crash. What lessons can we learn from this reexamination of past economic disruption? Kindleberger clearly sees a need to establish worldwide economic stability as a public good, and, in times of economic disruption, a need for leadership to set the global economy back on track. Kindleberger's essays tie together major topics in modem economics and economic history. They have profound implications for international relations and political science, as economic stability becomes increasingly important and increasingly elusive in the world today.