Once in Golconda "In this book, John Brooks-who was one of the most elegant of all business writers-perfectly catches the flavor of one of history's best-known financial dramas: the 1929 crash and its aftershocks. It's packed with parallels and parables for the modern reader." -From the Foreword by Richard Lambert Editor-in-Chief, The Financial Times Once in Golconda is a dramatic chronicle of the breathtaking rise, devastating fall, and painstaking rebirth of Wall Street in the years between the wars. Focusing on the lives and fortunes of some of the era's most memorable traders, bankers, boosters, and frauds, John Brooks brings to vivid life all the ruthlessness, greed, and reckless euphoria of the '20s bull market, the desperation of the days leading up to the crash of '29, and the bitterness of the years that followed. Praise for Once in Golconda "A fast-moving, sophisticated account.embracing the stock-market boom of the twenties, the crash of 1929, the Depression, and the coming of the New Deal. Its leitmotif is the truly tragic personal history of Richard Whitney, the aristocrat Morgan broker and head of the Stock Exchange, who ended up in Sing Sing."
-Edmund Wilson, writing in the New Yorker "As Mr. Brooks tells this tale of dishonor, desperation, and the fall of the mighty, it takes on overtones of Greek tragedy, a king brought down by pride. Whitney's sordid history has been told before..But in Mr. Brooks's hands, the drama becomes freshly shocking." -Wall Street Journal "It's all there in Once in Golconda-the avarice of an era that favored the rich; and the later anguish of myriads of speculators doomed by a bloated market, easy credit, and their own cupidity and stupidity." -Saturday Review
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US Kirkus Review »
Ever since the first storyteller told of a poor but shrewd peasant finagling a royal fortune away from an overconfident king and his negligent Viziers, people everywhere have been willing to listen or read variations of the archetype. Mr. Brooks, a superb anecdotalist, has made just such a story of Wall Street between the World Wars. He's personalized the story that economists have tried to tell through obscure figures and more formal historians have outlined in terms of political/financial-action/reaction. Adroit sketches of the men behind the unbridled manipulation of the nation's money during this period allow Brooks to show the social, as well as the political and economic, aspects of the N. Y. Stock Exchange. This story's shrewd peasants are the emerging Irish-American plungers and those from the German Jewish-American investment houses, who were permitted to play but carefully kept off the clubby committees through which the government allowed Exchange members to regulate themselves. The king is Morgan and the viziers are the "fine old American stock" brokers and lawyers who saw themselves as the natural equals (and perhaps betters) of statesmen. And, the grandest, gaudiest vizier of all was Richard Whitney, whose rise to the presidency of the Exchange and fall to prison for dealing-and-stealing rivals a fable for poetic justice. His career is traced throughout the eighteen years; its end signalled the government's searchlights and brooms in our Golconda (the diamond center of old India where all men were said to be able to get rich). Big Board nonfiction headed for a big, non-bored readership. (Kirkus Reviews)
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Author Biography - John Brooks
JOHN BROOKS was an award-winning New Yorker staff writer and author of several critically acclaimed explorations of business and Wall Street. Besides Once in Golconda, these include The Go-Go Years (Wiley), The Games Players, Business Adventures, and The Fate of the Edsel.