A book by John Steele Gordon< read all 1 reviews
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."
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