In God We Trust: The American Civil War, Money, Banking and Religion by William Bierly, Whitman Publishing, 2019, 336 pages, $29.95. This book delivers original research from primary sources ranging from local newspapers to the archives of the U. S. Mint. It also draws on many standards works, including the books of George and Melvin Fuld, Kevin Flynn, Q. David Bowers, and Don Taxay. It corrects some often repeated errors found in the numismatic literature. The central theme is story of how In God We Trust came to be on our coins and eventually was declared by law (July 23, 1956) to be our national motto. Most collectors of U.S. federal coinage know that the 2-cent piece of 1864 was the first to carry the motto. The Civil War was the cause. That story is the centerpiece here. The Red Book credits Salmon P. Chase with placing IGWT on the 2-cent coin. Chase was the financial wizard who designed the banking system that saved the Union. But he had little to do with the motto. His real accomplishments are chronicled here. Bierly teases out the threads of competing histories attributing the placement of the motto to Mint Directory James Pollack, Treasury Secretary Salmon P. Chase, and President Abraham Lincoln on the suggestion of Baptist minister Mark R. Watkinson, as well as being inspired by the battle cry of the 125th Pennsylvania Infantry. Ultimately, it may have been a reaction to the fact that the constitution of the Confederacy opened with a reference to the Almighty. The early victories of the South seemed to some to chastise the North for its godless Constitution. “We, the deputies of the sovereign and independent States of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana, invoking the favor of Almighty God, do hereby, in behalf of these States, ordain and establish this Constitution …” Like all true histories, this one is complicated and nuanced; and Bierly’s record reveals people we might not otherwise know. Katherine “Kate” Chase was the daughter of Salmon P. Chase. She was destroyed by her marriage to Rhode Island governor William Sprague, though for her part, she was often in the company of a young friend from Ohio, James Garfield, who was also married. Their story however tangential is relevant because of the suggestion by Walter Breen that IGWT was inspired by the mottoes of Brown University and the State of Rhode Island. Even if true, the appearance of two similar (but different) appeals to the Almighty would have remained a happenstance were Kate Chase not the belle of Washington, eclipsing Mary Todd Lincoln as the hostess of the capital. And there’s more. Numismatists know many patterns from 1863, 1864, and 1865 with different placements of IGWT as well as patterns of 1866 lacking the motto. Some were genuine. Others were the work of enterprising Mint employees selling new-made rarities. Another fact known to most collectors of U.S. coins is that President Theodore Roosevelt was opposed to placing IGWT on coins and was proud of the first new $20 gold coins created according to the patterns of Augustus Saint Gaudens. The President relented. It was a lesson learned by his cousin, Franklin D. Roosevelt, who spoke in Biblical allusions from his own bully pulpit to excoriate the business community. However, the business leaders of America soon joined the crusade against Godless communism. Among them was Matthew Rothert who is credited with the impetus to put the motto on our paper money. But his was one voice among many as “under God” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance. The story of IGWT would not be complete without a chapter on Madelyn Murray O’Hair, the atheist activist who unsuccessfully sued the government to have it removed after successfully suing to bring an end to prayers in public schools.