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Posted March 2, 2005
1929 can seem current.
The machinery of Wall Street is thoroughly analyzed here, circa 1929. The reader will find fascinating the colorful characters among Klein's pages. When you think the average human was living in pale sqaulor during this chaotic period,the high and mighty(and often criminal) were living quite well, thank you. Wall Street in 1929 became the gambling casino of the absurdly wealthy and savvy.In these pages the reader can see how the financial decisions of the movers and shakers of the world financial scene helped a global crises become an economic nightmare. I was gripped by this story; it is easy to see modern parallels in our economy today. Could 1929 happen again? Read on...
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Posted August 7, 2002
Fascinating and Timely Book
I am not a specialist in finance or financial history, just interested in the 1920s. I was pleasantly surprised to find that Rainbow's End actually covered much more than the Crash; it amounts to a financial and cultural history of the US over the decade leading up to 1929. The author does a great job explaining in simple terms enough of the complicated financial transactions involved in creating the (apparent) prosperity of the 1920s to make the story fully intelligible. I was most struck by how similar the situation by the late 1920s is to the post-Enron situation today: dubious accounting practices involving holding companies and subsidiaries, banks pushing investments they were underwriting, insider trading, brokers knowingly hawking overvalued or even worthless stocks and securities, politicians refusing to act on the principle of laissez--faire, other politicians holding forth on subjects on which they had no expertise, media hype, backroom deals, extremely complicated deals, corporate takeovers, extension of excessive credit used both for investment and for boosting purchases of consumer goods, bail-outs, embezzlement, media collusion, exploitation of the most up-to-date technologies to sustain stock-buying frenzies, a few bigwigs getting rich on the backs of lots of little people, etc., need I go on? A number of the quotations that make the text vivid can be found repeated almost verbatim by politicians and pundits in today's news media. Although this book will probably not satisfy the specialist historian, it is likely to fascinate anyone interested in modern history or finance. If you have money invested these days in stocks, bonds, or real estate, this book is a 'must-read.'Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.