Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920-1938

by John Brooks | History | This book has not been rated.
ISBN: Global Overview for this book
Registered by wingkayotewing of Champaign, Illinois USA on 8/15/2004
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingkayotewing from Champaign, Illinois USA on Sunday, August 15, 2004
From the inside flaps:

" 'Golconda, now a ruin, was a city in southeastern India where, according to legend, everyone hwo passed through got rich. A similar legend attached to Wall Street between the wars.'

"Marvelous fun to read, often incredible, always authoritative, this is John Brooks at his best...a narrative of extravagant events and extraordinary men. It begins with the famous 1920 bomb explosion outside the Morgan bank. And it ends with an explosion that had far more lasting impact--the conviction for embezzlement of Richard Whitney, last champion of the Old guard of American finance. Between these two, it provides a ringside seat for a succession of spectactular performances and actors:

*The 'corner' in Stutz stock, egnineered by Allan Ryan, dissident son of Thomas Fortune Ryan.

*The House of Morgan and -- just across the street -- Kuhn, Loeb & Company

*The Irish (Joseph P. Kennedy, master manipulator of 'poos'; Meehan; Sell'm ben Smith

*The role of Benjamin Strong, Governor of the Federal Reserve Bank in promoting the boom.

*vignettes of the crash

*FDR's advisers playing with the price of gold

John Brooks has captured here all the drama, ruthlessness, and fantasy of two wild decades when rugged individuallism really ran the show."

Journal Entry 2 by wingkayotewing from Champaign, Illinois USA on Friday, July 29, 2005
I found I couldn't just wild release this one--something kept telling me to read it.

The first quarter or so is not good. The only reason I kept reading was because it was the only book I had with me. It jumps all over from one person to another from here to there with no clear theme or reasoning. I just didn't feel I was getting anything out of the book.

After 1929, when the book starts dealing with what went on during the depression, it becomes much better. It slows down in jumping from place to place, and there are common threads throughout--it is more apparently following the history by means of certain people as illustration, or because history focused on certain people as the public's icon of a certain view.

It still semed to jump a bit in places I'd rather it not--Joe Kennedy on the SEC board is introduced, but not really dealt with. The SEC doesn't really take a large role in the story until Douglas is in charge of it, but there are passing comments to Kennedy making it work and work right. I would like to have seen some illustrations of this--such as what his listening stations were (informers? Actual bugs?) and how they were used.

I am glad I kept reading. However, if I reread it I will skim/skip the first part, since it is not up to the level of the rest. It's not the best book, but if you are interested in that era, it does fill a niche.

Journal Entry 3 by wingkayotewing at Champaign, Illinois USA on Sunday, July 29, 2018
After moving, I decided I HAD to start letting go of books (and a lot of other things. So many boxes. So very many boxes). So I'm releasing a bunch that were on my keeper shelf.

My neighbors were having a garage sale, so I put out a "free" box and put this in. It was gone when I brought the box in.


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