A History of the United States in Five Crashes

  • by Scott Nations
  • Narrated by Christopher Grove
  • 12 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

In this absorbing, smart, and accessible blend of economic and cultural history in the vein of the works of Michael Lewis and Andrew Ross Sorkin, a financial executive and CNBC contributor examines the five most significant stock market crashes in the United States over the past century, revealing how they have defined the nation today.
The Panic of 1907; Black Tuesday (1929); Black Monday (1987); the Great Recession (2008); the Flash Crash (2010): Each of these financial implosions that caused a catastrophic drop in the American stock market is a remarkable story in its own right. But taken together, they offer a unique financial history of the American century. In A History of the United States in Five Crashes, financial executive and CNBC contributor Scott Nations examines these precipitous dips, revealing how each played a role in America's political and cultural fabric, one building upon the next to create the nation we know today.
Scott Nations identifies the factors behind the disastrous runs on banks that led to the Panic of 1907, the first great scare of the 20th century. He explains why 1920s America adopted investment trusts - a practice that helped post-World War I Britain - and how they were a primary catalyst of the 1929 crash. He explores America's love affair with an expanding stock market in the 1980s - which spawned the birth of portfolio insurance that significantly contributed to the 1987 crash. And he examines the factors that led to the 2008 global meltdown and the rise of algorithmic trading, the modern financial technology that sparked the 2010 Flash Crash when American stocks lost a trillion dollars in minutes.
A History of the United States in Five Crashes clearly and compellingly illustrates the connections between these financial collapses and examines the solid, clear-cut lessons they offer for preventing the next one.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A solid telling of crucial history

This book sticks pretty closely to its knitting. It is here to tell us basic financial narratives of these particular stretches of time, with some supporting context. It tells (I think the most mainstream or popular) narratives, more detail-rich than one might find in a few simple news stories, in fairly non-technical language and straightforwardly, without wandering afield into alternative explanations or ideological tangents, and without attempting really wide-ranging commentary on what followed each crash. (Some patterns are noted from crash to crash.) There is enough context to understand each story in its times -- what the surrounding markets were like, what investors were popularly thinking, etc. Explanations are stripped down in the sense of, this caused that, without a lot of time spent speculating on alternative models or compound, complex causes. So, this is an ideal introduction to the topics covered. I appreciated the more detailed walk-throughs (than I have found in other audios) of 1987's so-called Black Monday, and 2010's Flash Crash. These are good introductory examples of a kind of accelerated and tech-driven crash we may expect to unfold (ever faster) in the future. The explanations got into good detail moment-to-moment to imagine how such things can go.
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- Phil O.


This is a neat story, but the numbers get a little onerous. I feel like I understand better what happened in 2008 and 2010, but again the numbers made me crazy — thankfully, I was listening while I rode my road bike so I could phase out a little during some of the more technical stuff.
Still very good and well read.
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- Timothy

Book Details

  • Release Date: 06-13-2017
  • Publisher: HarperAudio