Written in 1931, this new installment in the Wiley Investment Classics series offers a well-written historical and anecdotal account of the volatile stock market of the 1920s. It traces the rise of post World War I prosperity up to the crash of 1929 before a colorful backdrop that includes Al Capone, Prohibition, the first radio, and the rise and fall of the skirt length.
Frederick Lewis Allen
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I love that this was written just after the 1920's by an educated journalist who lived it. This book shows how history repeats itself. People think the problems of today are new...they're not...for example, did you know Wall Street was bombed once? On the trading floor? But yet we think of bomb threats as being a new idea because of terrorists. How quickly we forget history. And the rush up to the stock market crash? There were economists warning about it for so long but their cries were ignored. And the idea of easy credit available for mortgages and the run to buy houses to re-sell at higher values? That's not new...that happened in Florida during 1928. And people's homes were foreclosed and they lost...just like in 2009. The book is well-written, I appreciate the author's wit and knowledge of the decade. It gets a little long-winded in some areas but that is excusable. The writing helps you imagine a general idea of what the decade was like to live through and not necessarily from...
This book, originally published in 1931, is a jewel of a find for anyone who wants to understand the origins of the Great Depression of the 1930's. Allen's question is: What sorts of things were going on in the United States in the decade following World War I that made the Depression, if not inevitable, at least a logical outcome? Though Allen deals with specific phenomena--such as the rise of advertising designed to create markets for products, changes in sexual mores, and the criminal enterprises that arose from the foolishness of Prohibition--his basic answer is simple. The Roaring Twenties, that decade of excess, was itself an outcome of the First World War. The War to End All Wars left too many things unresolved. It also rearranged the political map of Europe and thrust the United States into a larger world role than most Americans felt prepared to assume. The result was an anxiety Americans attempted to assuage by pushing the limits of nearly everything--especially...
This was assigned in a history class on the U.S. 1920s-1930s quite some time ago. The one I have has a different cover than that used on Amazon's webpage, but it is still Harper Perennial Modern Classics. The author deliberately left off footnotes and confined his sources to a bibliographic essay at the back. While an enjoyable and easy read he brings in items that were only appropriate for the gossip pages. However, he tries to make accessible to the general reader such major events as the Harding scandals, the Tea Pot scandals, Al Capone's activities, what he calls the Big Bull Market, and other events that would attract the casual reader. As such it is a popular work not an academic work, a light contrast to the heavy academic tomes that were also assigned in the same seminar. Allen admits to including trivial items in his work, but he sees it as an opportunity to record the fads and fancies of the time. Thus is a social history (broadly defined) and though he includes political...
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