Several books have been written on the crash itself but non before has dealt with events leading up to it.
The era of the 1920s was one of economic growth, and not merely tinsel and ballyhoo. For most of the period, stock market prices were not unreasonably high and investment capitalism matured and took on its present-day power. It was Wall Street's silver age.
It was also and age of time purchases and of buying stocks on margin; an age when both practices were abused, but when Wall Street was no worse than Main Street. It was a period when government would not take major steps to correct the abuses and excesses. The few decisions made by the Federal Reserve were neither timely nor wise. A head of steam was building up for which there was no safety valve.
When the great crash came it was not directly followed by an economic collapse. During the next year, government and business did nothing of importance to prevent the depression, whose severity could not be attributed to Wall Street.
This is a collection of essays, which may account for the unevenness of the style and emphasis. The book provides a great deal of information on the 1921-1929 surge; every factor that fed the boom and brought on the bust would appear to be here. Low wages with high productivity, weak unions, pro-business government, surging consumer credit, stock manipulation by insiders. Insull with utilities, the Van Sweringens with rails, Kreuger with matches they're all here. Bad forces and worse men. The country was set for an economic eruption in 1920 with thirteen bathtubs and six phones per 100 families, but greed, venality and stupidity let it run away. . . . Why Sobel defines dividends and leaves more complicated and important matters unexplained is puzzling. The book may serve to enlighten and to ward against a reoccurrence, but it's no red flag. (Kirkus Reviews)
Series: Norton Essays in American History
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 176
Published: 17th July 1968
Publisher: WW Norton & Co
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.3 x 13.2
Weight (kg): 0.17
Edition Number: 1