A most timely business narrative.



A well-written, comprehensible assessment of the 1929 stock-market crash.

Klein (The Life and Legend of E.H. Harriman, 2000, etc.) is a seasoned business historian, and he humanizes a potentially dry subject, capturing how the rapid post-WWI transformations affected both average Americans—who, as “minnows,” were seduced by the market—and the powerful cabals that ran “the Street.” Although the dark chaos of October 1929 provides the center here, Klein reconstructs the halcyon days preceding the crash, the ethos of greedy naïveté, which may have caused it, and its relationship to the worldwide depression that followed. He is adept at explaining complex business ideas (such as covert stock pools and the bearish tactic of “selling short,” both of which were factors in the crash) in terms that convey the gravity of what followed 1929’s “Summer of Fun.” He builds toward the climactic disaster via scrupulous readings of primary sources, and strengthens the milieu by depicting many of the era’s most significant industrial and cultural figures, such as Henry Ford and Aimee Semple McPherson, as well as the Street’s many gold-plated gurus, from Sunshine Charley Mitchell of the National City Bank to the famous stock-tipping bootblack Pat Bologna, some of whose shady tactics undeniably contributed to the final panic. Of the Great Crash itself, which began on Thursday, October 23, and continued through Tuesday, Klein notes that “the selling wave seemed irresistible . . . frightening holders into ‘selling at the market’ ” (at any price), while technology was overwhelmed by human fallibility, with stock tickers running over an hour late. Throughout, as Klein ruefully observes, one cannot miss the glaring similarities between Hoover’s pro-business “New Era” and our own recently hobbled, high-tech “new economy,” such as the irrational exuberance demonstrated in both eras by an uneducated investing public. Klein is an elegant (if detail-obsessed) constructor of business histories, and one can read dire warnings between the lines here.

A most timely business narrative.

Pub Date: Oct. 29, 2001

ISBN: 0-19-513516-4

Page Count: 256

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15, 2001

Did you like this book?

No Comments Yet

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...


Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

Did you like this book?

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.



Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

Did you like this book?