Wall Street is an unending source of legend - and nightmares. It is a universal symbol of both the highest aspirations of economic prosperity and the basest impulses of greed and deception. Charles R. Geisst's Wall Street is at once a chronicle of the street itself - from the days when the wall was merely a defensive barricade built by Peter Stuyvesant - and an engaging economic history of the United States, a tale of profits and losses, enterprising spirits, and key figures that transformed America into the most powerful economy in the world.
The audiobook traces many themes, like the move of industry and business westward in the early 19th century, the rise of the great Robber Barons, and the growth of industry from the securities market's innovative financing of railroads, major steel companies, and Bell's and Edison's technical innovations. And because "The Street" has always been a breeding ground for outlandish characters with brazen nerve, no history of the stock market would be complete without a look at the conniving of ruthless wheeler-dealers and lesser known but influential rogues.
This updated edition covers the historic, almost apocalyptic events of the 2008 financial crisis and the overarching policy changes of the Obama administration. As Wall Street and America have changed irrevocably after the crisis, Charles R. Geisst offers the definitive chronicle of the relationship between the two, and the challenges and successes it has fostered that have shaped our history.
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Many books in one; best linking of stories, eras
- Phil O.
Written from the view of one who hates capitalism
Content that was reflective of what the title and description suggested it would be
The narrator was adequate. Somewhat monotone and dry, but pronunciation was OK.
It covered a wide range of time frames
The title and publisher description of this book are misleading. This is not an overall history of Wall Street, but rather a history of what the author considers examples of unfairness, greed, and criminality. The formal synopsis suggests that a history of Wall Street would not be complete without a "look" at the history of unsavory characters and corruption. This book, however, focuses almost solely on that element. Most sections start with only a brief discussion of Wall Street, before launching into long discussions on various other negative aspects of the economy, from trusts and monopolies, to scandals and criminals. Sometime in telling these anecdotes of "greed", huge periods of the book go by without even a mention of Wall Street itself. In the end you are left with very little actual history of Wall Street, let alone any nod to the fact that it was a major element in creating one of the most powerful economic systems in the history of human development. While I acknowledge that any true history of Wall Street should include a look at the effects of greed and corruption, this book takes it too far. In Chapter 12, during the short section about the effects of 9/11, the author gives just a brief description on the actual effects of the event before pointing out that certain stocks were shorted heavily before the attacks. From there the author launches into a diatribe about how Wall Street critics and regulators have complained about short selling for nearly 200 years to "no avail". One can't help but come to the conclusion that the author is attempting to liken short selling to financal terrorism. At this point I shut the book off.
- Mike Kirby