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Well researched and elegantly written history of the Street.

  • Nov 26, 2008
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There are few institutions in America that evoke such strong emotions among the general public. For over two centuries most Americans have viewed the goings on on Wall Street with a very jaundiced eye....and with very good reason.  From the Gilded Age to the dot.com boom of the 1990's the way business was conducted on Wall Street would have an enormous impact of the lives of farmers, factory workers and shopkeepers across this nation. Author Steve Fraser has managed to capture the essence of this love-hate relationship with the Street in his marvelous new book "Wall Street: America's Dream Palace".

For those who know little about the origins of Wall Street Steve Fraser presents a brief history in his Introduction to get us all up to speed.  Interestingly enough, this book has only four chapters, each scrutinizing the roles of what Fraser considers to be four iconic Wall Street types including the aristocrat, the confidence man, the hero and the immoralist.  In each chapter, Fraser presents vivid portraits of those legendary individuals who for better or for worse have made their mark in the world of high finance.  Fraser spotlights such diverse charactors as J.P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, Charles Ponzi and Michael Milken to name but a few.  Fraser also discusses at some length how the dot.com boom lured many Americans into the stock market for the very first time and how so many of us were burned by the unscrupulous actions of con men like Michael Milken, corporations like Enron and WorldCom, as well as by a variety of unsavory speculators and day traders.

Overall I found "Wall Street: America's Dream Palace" to be an extremely informative and highly enjoyable read.  I particularly enjoy writers with outstanding vocabularies and Steve Fraser can turn a phrase with the best of them.  Lots of great information packed into this terrific little book.  Very Highly recommended!

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April 01, 2009
Sounds like a great book and in direct context for our current financial situation!
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Paul Tognetti ()
Ranked #2
I guess I would qualify as a frustrated writer. My work requires very little writing and so since 1999 I have been writing reviews on non-fiction books and anthology CD's on amazon.com. I never could … more
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About this book


Wall Street: no other place on earth is so singularly identified with money and the power of money. And no other American institution has inspired such deep moral, cultural, and political ambivalence. Is the Street an unbreachable bulwark defending commercial order? Or is it a
center of mad ambition?

This book recounts the colorful history of America's love-hate relationship with Wall Street.
Steve Fraser frames his fascinating analysis around the roles of four iconic Wall Street types—the aristocrat, the confidence man, the hero, and the immoralist—all recurring figures who yield surprising insights about how the nation has wrestled, and still wrestles, with fundamental questions of wealth and work, democracy and elitism, greed and salvation. Spanning the years from the first Wall Street panic of 1792 to the dot.com bubble-and-bust and Enron scandals of our own time, the book is full of stories and portraits of such larger-than-life figures as J. P. Morgan, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and Michael Milken. Fraser considers the conflicting attitudes of ordinary Americans toward the Street and concludes with a brief rumination on the recent notion of Wall Street as a haven for Everyman.

Steve Fraser is an author, an editor, and a historian whose many publications include the award-winning books Labor Will Rule: Sidney Hillman and the Rise of American Labor and Every Man a Speculator: A History of Wall Street in American Life. He is senior lecturer at the University of ...
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ISBN-10: 0300117558
ISBN-13: 978-0300117554
Author: Steve Fraser
Genre: Economic History
Publisher: Yale University Press
Date Published: April 22, 2008
Format: Hardcover
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