Hernando de Soto is interested in big-picture history. He asks a huge question in his most famous book, The Mystery of Capital, and looks in many places and at many times to find the answer. The question is about why capitalism works so well in the United States and seems to work less well in other places, primarily Latin America. His search for an answer stretches across centuries and across continents. The question is an important one, which resonates with many people today. Indeed, one of the reasons he has attracted so much attention is that he asks a question many others want to answer: is there anything that can be done to bring the bounties of capitalism to more countries and more people? The subtitle of The Mystery of Capital presents the question that motivates his work: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else. Why, indeed?