Synopses & Reviews
In the initial volume of a new series—American Portraits, original paperbacks focusing on forgotten chapters of American history—H. W. Brands brings to life a scandal from Gilded Age New York that feels as familiar as today’s headlines.
Even before he was shot dead by a rival lover in 1872 in the lobby of New York’s tony Grand Central Hotel, fi nancier James “Diamond Jim” Fisk was a notorious public figure. From his daring attempt to corner the gold market in 1869, to his battle for control of the Erie Railroad, to his scandalously open affair with a showgirl named Josie Mansfield, Fisk was a colorful exemplar of a new financial era marked by volatile fortunes and unprecedented greed. In The Murder of Jim Fisk H. W. Brands’s narrative gifts are on full display as he describes the downfall of this larger-than-life character, including a cast of legendary New Yorkers like Boss Tweed, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the railroad tycoon Jay Gould.
Even before he was shot dead on the stairway of the tony Grand Central Hotel in 1872, financier James “Jubilee Jim” Fisk, Jr., was a notorious New York City figure. From his audacious attempt to corner the gold market in 1869 to his battle for control of the geographically crucial Erie Railroad, Fisk was a flamboyant exemplar of a new financial era marked by volatile fortunes and unprecedented greed and corruption. But it was his scandalously open affair with a showgirl named Josie Mansfield that ultimately led to his demise.
In this riveting short history—the first in his American Portraits series—H. W. Brands traces Fisk’s extraordinary downfall, bringing to life New York’s Gilded Age and some of its legendary players, including Boss William Tweed, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the railroad tycoon Jay Gould.
About the Author
H. W. Brands
is the Dickson Allen Anderson Professor of History at the University of Texas at Austin. He was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in biography for The First American: The Life and Times of Benjamin Franklin
, and for Traitor to His Class: The Privileged Life and Radical Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt
Visit the author's website at www.hwbrands.com.