Movies Books Music Food Tv Shows Technology Politics Video Games Parenting Fashion Green Living more >

Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » 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

1 rating: 5.0
A book by John Steele Gordon

The wall in question was torn down 300 years ago. In the intervening years, the narrow crosstown street in downtown Manhattan where the wall erected by Dutch governor Peter Stuyvesant once stood has become the symbol of the New York financial market, … see full wiki

Tags: Books, Cafe Libri
Author: John Steele Gordon
Publisher: Scribner
1 review about The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street...

Once merely a wall....

  • Jan 17, 2000
I really enjoyed reading this book. It traces the emergence of Wall Street as a world power from 1653 until 2000. In Chapter One, Gordon takes us back in time to the colony of Nieuw Amsterdam. Because its governor, Peter Stuyvesant, feared a land attack from New England, he convinced local merchants to finance the construction of a wall on the town's northern edge. After its construction (of sixteen-foot logs sunk four feet into the ground and sharpened at the top), the city council initially refused to repay the merchants. Only later when Stuyvesant agreed to turn over revenues from the tax on liquor in compensation did the council reluctantly agree. Thus did the town gain a new wall...and a new street as well.

This situation is representative of Gordon's approach to more than 300 years of history. He anchors his reader in a series of historical situations which can often seem dry as dust. Presented by Gordon, they almost come to life. Consider this brief excerpt:

[My book] runs from an economy powered by peasants at their plows to one powered by office workers at their computers; from Galileo's handmade two-inch telescope that could not clearly make out the rings of Saturn, to the Keck Observatory's paired-ten- meter instruments that can see twelve billion light years into space; from a world where news moved at the speed of a horse to one where it moves at the speed of light;. Thus this book is history on the grand scale. And history on such a scale of necessity, largely the history of great men, great themes, and great powers.

As Gordon also notes in the Prologue, like ancient Rome, "Wall Street started small and inconsequential, utterly unnoticed by the mighty of the earth....And like the story of Rome, Wall Street's story is a story worth telling. For like the Romans, the players of the great game were (and are) great, petty, loathsome, smart, brainless, selfish, generous, and always, always human."

There are 15 lively chapters and then an Epilogue in which Gordon describes playing "the great game" as "pursuing our infinite self-interests within the rules of the game." By doing so, "we will continue to move the invisible hand that has made so much of the world so rich." Frankly, I was at first reluctant to read this book. However, I immediately became fascinated by what Gordon shares in the Prologue and then totally caught up in the narrative which follows. Having read it, I understood what Edwin Lefevre (whom Gordon quotes) meant when he once said of that financial center: "The game does not change and neither does human nature."

What did you think of this review?

Fun to Read
Post a Comment
What's your opinion on The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall St...?
1 rating: +5.0
You have exceeded the maximum length.
The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a
Related Topics
Dear John

A book by Nicholas Sparks

Little Women

A book by Louisa May Alcott and Susan Straight

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey

A book by Hunter S. Thompson.

First to Review

"Once merely a wall...."
© 2014 Lunch.com, LLC All Rights Reserved
Lunch.com - Relevant reviews by real people.
This is you!
Ranked #
Last login
Member since