* Over 300 A-Z entries on various events, ideas, and persons, as well as crucial supporting and refuting evidence, and competing explanations for the origins, history, and popularity of this mode of political thought
* Primary documents from organizations promoting conspiracy theories
* Contributions from over 100 international scholars with a full range of historical expertise
* Separate section containing about 100 illustrative extracts covering the full range of American history, each with a brief headnote placing it in context
Peter Knight, PhD, is a lecturer in American studies at the University of Manchester, Manchester, England.
Drawing on the late nineteenth-century explosion of art, literature, and media, which sought to dramatize the workings of the stock market for a wide audience, Knight shows how ordinary Americans became both emotionally and financially invested in the market. He analyzes popular investment manuals, brokers’ newsletters, newspaper columns, magazine articles, illustrations, and cartoons. He also introduces readers to fiction featuring financial tricksters, which was characterized by themes of personal trust and insider information. The book reveals how the popular culture of the period shaped the very idea of the market as a self-regulating mechanism by making the impersonal abstractions of high finance personal and concrete.
From the rise of ticker-tape technology to the development of conspiracy theories, Reading the Market argues that commentary on the Stock Exchange between 1870 and 1915 changed how Americans understood finance—and explains what our pervasive interest in Wall Street says about us now.