Synopses & Reviews
The first major history of the Crash in over a decade, Rainbow's End
tells the story of the stock market collapse in a colorful, swift-moving narrative that blends a vivid portrait of the 1920s with an intensely gripping account of Wall Street's greatest catastrophe. The book offers a vibrant picture of a world full of plungers, powerful bankers, corporate titans, millionaire brokers, and buoyantly optimistic stock market bulls. We meet Sunshine Charley Mitchell, head of the National City Bank, powerful financiers Jack Morgan and Jacob Schiff, Wall Street manipulators such as the legendary Jesse Livermore, and the lavish-living Billy Durant, founder of General Motors. As Klein follows the careers of these men, he shows us how the financial house of cards gradually grew taller, as the irrational exuberance of an earlier age gripped America and convinced us that the market would continue to rise forever. Then, in October 1929, came a "perfect storm"-like convergence of factors that shook Wall Street to its foundations. We relive Black Thursday, when police lined Wall Street, brokers grew hysterical, customers "bellowed like lunatics," and the ticker tape fell hours behind.
This compelling history of the Crash the first to follow the market closely for the two years leading up to the disaster illuminates a major turning point in our history.
"Klein tells the story of the crash clearly and well, with some especially good pen portraits of characters such as Thomas Lamont, Jesse Livermore, Charley Mitchell and Albert Wiggin (who actually made money short-selling)." The Economist
"A remarkable blend of sharp-eyed business history and keen cultural analysis, Rainbow's End paints the most compelling picture yet of the stock-market crash of 1929. In Maury Klein's able hands, the story of the crash ends up illuminating not just Wall Street in the Jazz Age, but America as well. Boom and bust: Klein gives us both, in all their intoxicating and hysterical glory." James Surowiecki, The New Yorker
"Well-written, entertaining and detailed....Klein shows how optimism gradually spawned financial euphoria." Robert J. Samuelson, The New York Times Book Review
"Land crooks...delusional bank chairman...high-rolling speculators....The woes of the local shoe-shine man and Groucho Marx get mentioned, too.... Klein offers a swift survey of the lunatic optimism of Wall Street and how it all turned to dust in the closing days of October....Each chapter resonates with the follies of today." The Wall Street Journal
A compulsively readable history of the stock market crash of 1929 is written by one of America's foremost business historians.
About the Author
Maury Klein is Professor of History at the University of Rhode Island and one of the most acclaimed historians of American business at work today. He is the author of many books, including The Life and Legend of Jay Gould (a Pulitzer Prize finalist), Unfinished Business: The Railroad in American Life, and Days of Defiance: Sumter, Secession, and the Coming of the Civil War.