THE BANK by Stephen Longstreet


Email this review


Longstreet's saga of dynastic wealth crams more posh clubs, estates, cars, clothes and wines onto each page than anything since John O'Hara. The Starkweathers have been in banking since old H. H. Starkweather made a killing as a blockade runner during the Civil War, afterwards fell in with Gould, Fisk, and Morgan and cornered the gold market with the connivance of Ulysses S. Grant's son-in-law. It's hard not to identify H.H. as John D. Rockefeller even if, in truth, he's not exactly a robber baron and they have less and less in common as the story progresses. We follow H. H. through the Draft Riots of 1863 (during which he kills a man), the expansion of the banking industry, and two stock market collapses until his death in 1930. Meanwhile his progeny are picking up the financial reins, marrying into the upper crust and enjoying assorted mistresses and liaisons, although one grandson, Joseph, throws in his lot with radicals and anarchists. Longstreet, however, is as interested in banking itself as he is in the Starkweathers and demonstrates once more that money not only makes money in one form or another but has a fascination of its own.

Pub Date: Feb. 23rd, 1976
Publisher: Putnam