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The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance Audio CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged

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Product Details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Tantor; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (October 20, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400168562
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400168569
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 7.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,376,042 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Perino, law professor at St. John's University, recounts the 1933 investigation into Wall Street abuses by the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency, focusing on the 10-day interrogation by chief counsel Ferdinand Pecora of executives of National City Bank (precursor to Citigroup). A morass of tawdry scams surfaced in the hearings: the bank's in-house stock pools artificially inflated its own stock; bank officers gave themselves no-interest (and apparently no-repayment) loans; mom-and-pop investors relying on National City's supposedly impartial advice were sold dubious securities in which the bank had a hidden financial interest. The author argues that Pecora's revelations, coming amid the 1933 bank collapse, stoked public outrage and paved the way for unprecedented government regulation of the financial system. Perino's narrative is a lucid account of period banking and stock-market swindles and a crackerjack legal drama, as Pecora's cunning, relentless questioning demolished the bankers' evasions. (The Sicilian immigrant's triumph over the WASP financial elite also heralded a social revolution, the author contends.) Perino's book is a trenchant, entertaining study of the New Deal's heroic beginnings, one with obvious relevance to latter-day efforts to rein in Wall Street's excesses.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Academic and securities authority Perino recounts in detail the dramatic story of the Senate hearings on the causes of the 1929 stock market crash. These hearings concluded shortly before President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s famous inaugural address on March 4, 1933, in which he noted that the only thing Americans had to fear was fear itself. This is the tale of 10 critical days of those Senate hearings led by Ferdinand Pecora, an Italian immigrant lawyer, New York City’s former assistant district attorney and chief counsel for the Senate Committee on Banking and Currency. Prior to 1933, the federal government did not concern itself with Wall Street. Pecora’s hearings represented the first time in U.S. history that Wall Street was subjected to a public accounting, and Pecora’s skill in taking the spirit of the early Depression and drawing from it hard facts and concrete evidence changed forever the relationship between Wall Street and Washington. This excellent book is timely in light of the 2008 turmoil in financial markets. --Mary Whaley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Michael Perino is currently the Dean George W. Matheson Professor of Law at St. John's University School of Law in New York and has previously taught at Stanford, Columbia, and Cornell Law Schools.

Professor Perino has authored numerous academic articles and monographs on securities regulation, securities fraud, and class action litigation. He has testified in both the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, has served as an advisor to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, and is frequently quoted in the media on securities and corporate matters. His comments have appeared and his research has been profiled in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Economist, Business Week, the Financial Times, Forbes, Fortune, the Washington Post, and many others. Professor Perino has also appeared on This American Life, All Things Considered, Morning Edition, and Marketplace on National Public Radio, on Bill Moyers' Journal, and on CNBC.

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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This is a MUST READ book for all Americans.
Dean Romano
Many others have commented, at length, about the parallels between the aftermath of the Financial Crisis of 2009 and the aftermath of the Great Depression.
Couldn't put this book down, a compelling story, very well told.
James T. Ranney

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Michael Perino presents the definitive account of a chapter of our national history that has too quickly receded from our collective memory. In 1933, four years after the Great Crash, although "banksters" of Wall Street were decried for their arrogance and deceit throughout America, the politicians in Congress seemed poised to capitulate to the perennial Wall Street argument that "finance was just too complicated to delegate to the democratic process." The implicit invitation from Wall Street: Just trust us. We know what we are doing. We are essential to the American economy. Leave all regulation to us. The math is just too hard, the vocabulary just too arcane, the stakes just too high. If that sounds familiar, it should: the argument has been made at every juncture where the regulation of finance is at stake.

Perino gives us the account of how that entire system of thinking--for one of the first, and frankly, one of the last times in our nation's history--was dumped on its head by the scrappy former District Attorney, Ferdinand Pecora. In the span of just ten days, with only a few weeks' preparation, this lawyer--no finance whiz--revealed in plain terms the extent of the deceit that created the deluge of participation by Moms and Pops throughout the country in the nation's securities markets. Rather than people going simply crazy for the thrills of market speculation, many of those who lost their savings in the stock market were duped into participation by slick, persistent salesmen armed with outright lies about the reliability of the securities they peddled. Perino's presentation of some of the letters written to Pecora during this investigation is particularly harrowing.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Miriam on November 5, 2010
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A famous "someone" once said, "Those who do not know history are condemned to repeat it". That is certainly true of the financial situation today.

The Hellhound of Wall Street is a very well written and penetrating look at one set of congressional hearings held in 1933, examining the role of National City Bank (now CitiBank) and its president Charles E. Mitchell, in the cause of the 1929 crash and its aftermath. It tells the tale using the story of the fantastic lawyer who did the research and asked all the right questions in order to expose what was subsequently called the "banksters" role in manipulating stocks, bonds, and the public without the least hint of moral or ethical considerations.

The echoes it sends down to today are chilling, in that it proves that the government, and the people, never seem to learn. We expect business to police its own activities to create a fair and functioning free market. Great expectations are rarely met.

When did we lose having lawyers conduct congressional hearings, and leave it up to 5 minutes of questioning each by unknowledgeable and ill prepared politicians. If the right questions aren't asked, how can we get the right answers?

I highly recommend this timely and riveting read.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dan K on October 25, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Michael Perino's meticulous research takes us back to 1933, as if it was our current financial crises. His keen detail and presentation of the story keeps the reader so informed of the important aspects of the country's financial and banking crises it is hard to put the book down. I'm looking forward to the big screen version (but only if Perino writes the screenplay) as well as his next book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J>M> Steinberg on November 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The Hellhound of Wall Street is masterful account of how an unlikely attorney, Ferdinand Pecora, a Sicilian born immigrant, took over a faltering 1933 Senate investigation and turned it around to expose how the malfeasance and practices of the Wall Street elite was a major causal factor of the 1929 depression. The Pecora hearings laid the groundwork for the enactment of the New Deal's security and banking laws designed to regulate the uncontrolled practices in the banking and securities arenas. Indeed, The Hellhound of Wall Street by Michael Perino is a prologue of major abuses in our financial markets over the past decade that have adversely impacted the current state of our economy - new games and new tricks.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Acute Observer on February 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The Hellhound of Wall Street, Michael Perino

Michael Perino is a Professor at St. John's University School of Law who testified before Congress and consulted with the SEC. In March 1933 the USA was in the Great Depression. One in four families lost their life savings from thousands of bank failures. Unemployment was at 25%, industrial production was half of what it was in 1929. Farm incomes had been dropping since 1921. People were ill-fed and ill-housed. The Stock Exchange closed on March 3, 1933 (`Introduction'). FDR planned to attack the Great Depression; he blamed Wall Street for their swindles that impoverished the nation. Ferdinand Pecora had just finished the Senate hearings that exposed Wall Street's looting of investors (p.4). It led to "strict supervision of all banking and credits and investments". Pecora's investigation and the scandals aroused public opinion for reform (p.5). Charles Mitchell the banker pioneered the sale of stocks and bonds to middle-class investors (p.6). Pecora's investigation revealed National City Bank sold worthless bonds and manipulated stock prices to benefit insiders. [Does this remind you of the High-Tech stock scams of the 1990s and Collateralized Mortgage Obligations of the 2000s?]

`Part I' discusses the financial and political background. [Perino may not understand how traders can drive down a stock (p.16). Richard Ney's "The Wall Street Gang" explains.] Chapter 2 is a biography of Ferdinand Pecora. Chapter 3 explains the workings of Senator Norbeck's committee. [Note the misjudgments of the `NY Times' in these chapters.] Norbeck chose Pecora as the investigator for the time remaining (Chapter 4). Investors were swindled by selling them over-priced stock (p.71). Newspapers were paid to print misleading advice. [Does this still go on?
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