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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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2 Beaverton Business- History and Biography

The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power 1653-2000


The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power 1653-2000 Cover


Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

For more than two hundred years, fortunes have been made — and lost — on Wall Street by men and women playing the great game of capitalism. Many have repeated the mistakes of their forebears, and some have enjoyed similar triumphs. In this gripping and informative book, John Steele Gordon tells history lovers, armchair investors, financiers, and day traders alike everything they need to know about Wall Street's wild ride to power.

Wall Street began as the northern line of defense for a wilderness trading post, at a time when money was limited to gold, silver, and Indian wampum. Today, Wall Street is a metaphor for the global financial market, and money exists mostly on computer screens. More than three million Americans are now employed by the securities industry, and Wall Street wields the sort of power once reserved to nation states. How did an unimpressive little byway become so formidable? In this richly textured narrative history, John Steele Gordon brings to life the remarkable cast of bankers and brokers, visionaries and crooks who made it happen.

Nature gave New York one of the world's great harbors, and the Dutch founders gave the city its enduring love of making money. In pursuit of that love, New Yorkers began meeting under the trees and lampposts of Wall Street to buy and sell securities. As the country expanded westward, canal and railroad companies came to Wall Street looking for capital. Later still, manufacturers came as well, and, by the beginning of the twentieth century, the United States had the mightiest national economy in the world. No small part of that development was due to Wall Street, which, time and again, has demonstrated how Adam Smith's invisible hand turns the pursuit of economic self-interest into common wealth.

Gordon tells the fascinating stories of the key players of the Great Game, including Jacob Little, the first great Wall Street plunger; Commodore Vanderbilt, the Street's greatest tactician; Hetty Green, the "richest woman in the world," who was terrified of being poor; J. P. Morgan, the country's most important banker, who twice saved it from economic disaster when the government couldn't; Richard Whitney, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, who was a thief; and Charles E. Merrill, who brought Wall Street to Main Street and transformed both in the process. From Alexander Hamilton to Michael Milken, the history of Wall Street is a history of risk, courage, avarice, patriotism, power, genius, and even, occasionally, remarkable stupidity.

Wall Street has finally found a biographer worthy of her extraordinary story in acclaimed business historian John Steele Gordon. As more and more Americans invest their money in the stock market, The Great Game is a lively and absorbing account of how Wall Street became a crucial part of all our lives.


In this gripping and groundbreaking book, an acclaimed historian traces Wall Street's dramatic transformation from a wilderness trading post in the 1650s to a formidable world player today. of photos.


Includes bibliographical references (p. 305-308) and index.

About the Author

John Steele Gordon, author of two previous books on aspects of Wall Street's history, including Hamilton's Blessing, writes a popular column on American economic history for American Heritage. He also writes for the op-ed pages of the Wall Street Journal and USA Today and can be heard on Public Radio International's Marketplace. He lives in North Salem, New York.

Table of Contents


1. "A Cloacina of All the Depravities of Human Nature"
2. "A Line of Separation between Honest Men & Knaves"
3. "That Tongue That Is Licking Up the Cream of Commerce"
4. "What Can Be the End of All This but Another General Collapse?"
5. "Vanity Fair Was No Longer a Dream"
6. "Who...Could Blame Them for Doing What They Pleased?"
7. "The Bulls, Triumphant, Faced Their Foes"
8. "All You Have to Do Is Buy Cheap and Sell Dear"
9. "Have You Anything to Suggest?"
10. "Why Don't You Tell Them What to Do, Mr. Morgan?"
11. "Does This Happen Often?"
12. "The Stock Exchange Can Do Anything"
13. "Not Dick Whitney!"
14. "Wall Street Is...Main Street"
15. "It's Time We Put In a Good Word for Greed"

Product Details

The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power: 1653-2000
Gordon, John Steele
New York, NY :
Investments & Securities - Stocks
Wall street
Wall street (new york, n.y.)
General Business & Economics
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
9.25 x 6.125 in 20.16 oz

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Related Subjects

Business » History and Biographies
History and Social Science » Economics » General

The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power 1653-2000 Used Hardcover
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$5.95 In Stock
Product details 320 pages Scribner Book Company - English 9780684832876 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , In this gripping and groundbreaking book, an acclaimed historian traces Wall Street's dramatic transformation from a wilderness trading post in the 1650s to a formidable world player today. of photos.
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