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Wall Street: America's Dream Palace (Icons of America) Hardcover – April 22, 2008
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For those who know little about the origins of Wall Street Steve Fraser presents a brief history in his Introduction to get us all up to speed. Interestingly enough, this book has only four chapters, each scrutinizing the roles of what Fraser considers to be four iconic Wall Street types including the aristocrat, the confidence man, the hero and the immoralist. In each chapter, Fraser presents vivid portraits of those legendary individuals who for better or for worse have made their mark in the world of high finance. Fraser spotlights such diverse charactors as J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Charles Ponzi and Michael Milken to name but a few. Fraser also discusses at some length how the dot.com boom lured many Americans into the stock market for the very first time and how so many of us were burned by the unscrupulous actions of con men like Michael Milken, corporations like Enron and WorldCom, as well as by a variety of unsavory speculators and day traders.
Overall I found "Wall Street: America's Dream Palace" to be an extremely informative and highly enjoyable read. I enjoy writers with outstanding vocabularies and Steve Fraser can turn a phrase with the best of them. Lots of great information packed into this terrific little book. Highly recommended!
along the page and onto the next. This is one of those rare
non-fiction books you wish were longer.
The following quote pretty much sums up the book :" With the active connivance of many of the Street's most powerful investment banks,not just Enron but a slew of major corporations-Tyco,WorldCom,Adelphia,QWest Communications,Arthur Anderson-turned out to be little more than stupendous confidence games designed by top management to defraud the investing public..."(pp.90-91).Of course,large numbers of financial analysts,with their MBA degree training in the Efficient Market Hypothesis telling them that speculative bubbles could not exist,were needed to provide the fig leaf of " economic analysis " to support the constantly rising bubble prices.
I have subtracted away 1/2 of a star because the author is unaware that Adam Smith,back in 1776,had already provided a complete analysis warning his readers of the consequences of allowing unregulated commercial banks from teaming up with speculators to put their " projects " into reality.Smith's conclusion,that all of the savings of the banks' depositors would end up being wasted and destroyed is as true to day in 2009 as it was back in 1776.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A different look at the titans who created the modern financial world
Be prepared to be enlightened educated and shocked
Marvelous piece of writing that is easy to read, panoramic in its perception, and undeniably informative regarding the birth and development of Wall Street, and the idea of... Read morePublished on December 26, 2009 by C. Alfred Santillo