A Fortune writer picks up and puts together the pieces of our greatest dollar disaster, analyzes the fiscal factors which led to the collapse of 1929 and some of the dubious mismanagement and manipulation it revealed. Perhaps the most important part was the speculative momentum which preceded it, the Florida boom which had been an earlier lesson in effortless enrichment- and impoverishment, and which prompted a very comfortable era to believe that everyone could get rich quickly. The big bull market of which Coolidge was confident- but of which Hoover took a dim view; the marginal trading, unregulated investment trusts, unlimited brokers' loans, and the deliberately unconcerned attitude of the Federal Reserve all were behind the bubble which was first pricked in September, and was followed by impotent attempts to stem the collapse and the selling wave. In the postmortem which followed, the grave lapses of the bankers- the heads of the Chase and National City, the arraignment of Richard Whiney- a dishonest as well as disastrous businessman- were just individual incidents in this fiasco in which the Street became the biggest gambling enterprise of all time. A cautionary tale-which perhaps still exerts an ""immunizing memory"" for today as bright writing animates a dark era.