Rainbow's End: The Crash of 1929

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Oxford University Press, May 1, 2003 - Business & Economics - 368 pages
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Rainbow's End tells the story of the stock market collapse in a colorful, swift-moving narrative that blends a vivid portrait of the 1920s with an intensely gripping account of Wall Street's greatest catastrophe. The book offers a vibrant picture of a world full of plungers, powerful bankers, corporate titans, millionaire brokers, and buoyantly optimistic stock market bulls. We meet Sunshine Charley Mitchell, head of the National City Bank, powerful financiers Jack Morgan and Jacob Schiff, Wall Street manipulators such as the legendary Jesse Livermore, and the lavish-living Billy Durant, founder of General Motors. As Klein follows the careers of these men, he shows us how the financial house of cards gradually grew taller, as the irrational exuberance of an earlier age gripped America and convinced us that the market would continue to rise forever. Then, in October 1929, came a "perfect storm"-like convergence of factors that shook Wall Street to its foundations. We relive Black Thursday, when police lined Wall Street, brokers grew hysterical, customers "bellowed like lunatics," and the ticker tape fell hours behind. This compelling history of the Crash--the first to follow the market closely for the two years leading up to the disaster--illuminates a major turning point in our history.
 

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Contents

The Summer of Fun 1929
1
America the Bountiful
19
The Club and the Street
42
Plungers and Politicians
61
The Birth of the Bull
80
The Good Life
101
The New Era
121
The Culture of Greed
145
The Fall Follies
190
Rainbows End
207
Over the Rainbow
236
The Winter of Discontent 1930
253
Notes
279
Selected Bibliography
313
Acknowledgments
323
Index
325

Makin Whoopee
165

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Page xix - ... been the climax of a cycle in American mass thinking and mass emotion. There was hardly a man or woman in the country whose attitude toward life had not been affected by it in some degree and was not now affected by the sudden and brutal shattering of hope. With the big bull market gone and prosperity going, Americans were soon to find themselves living in an altered world which called for new adjustments, new ideas, new habits of thought, and a new order of values. The psychological climate...
Page xix - Prosperity is more than an economic condition ; it is a state of mind. The big bull market had been more than the climax of a business cycle; it had been the climax of a cycle in American mass thinking and mass emotion.

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About the author (2003)

Maury Klein is Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island and one of the most acclaimed historians of American business at work today. He is the author of many books, including The Life and Legend of Jay Gould, Unfinished Business: The Railroad in American Life, and Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War.

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