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Lunch » Tags » Books » Reviews » The Day Wall Street Exploded: A Story of America in Its First Age of Terror » User review

Dull as dishwater

  • Mar 9, 2009
  • by
So, up front you should know that I haven't finished this book and likely won't. I've gotten two-thirds of the way into it and I give up. It's completely failing to grip me, and I have no interest in finishing it.

I'd gone into this book expecting a nice non-fiction crime story, talking about the particulars of a very nasty terrorist attack. I'd expected to read all about the case, how it happened, who was behind it, the investigation, etc.

Sadly, what we get instead is a detailed history on the anarchist movement in the United States. That's a valid and somewhat interesting topic, but it isn't what I'd expected. It strays from what should be the main focus and winds up all over the map, going from Haymarket up to the titular attack on Wall Street.

I'm very disapointed, cause I'd expected something along the lines of American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century, which covered a terrorist attack in Los Angeles and features some of the same real-life figures this book does. What I got instead was a dry, boring little book that seems to be more about build-up than pay-off.

If you want a good book about American terrorism in the early 20th century, check the aforementioned "American Lightning" and, sadly, avoid this book.

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review by . February 16, 2009
As it becomes more apparent that America's "war on terror" really may be the generational conflict some commentators were predicting shortly after September 11, perhaps historians' minds are turning more to similar periods of uncertainty and generalized threat in American life? It would seem that way, given that a few months ago saw the release of American Lightning: Terror, Mystery, the Birth of Hollywood, and the Crime of the Century, Howard Blum's well-done re-introduction to us of the bombing …
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C R Swanson ()
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   I'm an aspiring writer and reviewer. I run a blog, I'm working on a novel and spend my free time reading and playing video games. I also spend waaaaay too much time and money on movies. … more
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About this book


Just after noon on September 16, 1920, as hundreds of workers poured onto Wall Street for their lunchtime break, a horse-drawn cart packed with dynamite exploded in a spray of metal and fire, turning the busiest corner of the financial center into a war zone. Thirty-nine people died and hundreds more lay wounded, making the Wall Street explosion the worst terrorist attack to that point in U.S. history. InThe Day Wall Street Exploded, Beverly Gage tells the story of that once infamous but now largely forgotten event.

Take a Look at Wall Street Political CartoonsPolitical cartoons in 1920 reflected public perceptions of the attack on Wall Street and its aftermath. Cartoonists directed their satire towards the villains of the age: communists, anarchists, and--according to one cartoonist--greedy employers. These images are featured in the decorative endpapers ofThe Day Wall Street Exploded. (Click on any image to enlarge).

December 17, 1921

New York Daily News
September 17, 1920

Chicago Tribune
Date Unknown
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ISBN-10: 019514824X
ISBN-13: 978-0195148244
Author: Beverly Gage
Genre: History
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
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