Harper's Magazine: Volume 18

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Publisher
Harper's Magazine Company
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Published on
Dec 31, 1859
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Pages
884
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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A “stimulating” account of the capitalists who changed America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, setting the stage for the 1929 crash and Great Depression (Kirkus Reviews).

In the decades following the Civil War, America entered an era of unprecedented corporate expansion, with ultimate financial power in the hands of a few wealthy industrialists who exploited the system for everything it was worth. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, and Vanderbilts were the “lords of creation” who, along with like-minded magnates, controlled the economic destiny of the country, unrestrained by regulations or moral imperatives. Through a combination of foresight, ingenuity, ruthlessness, and greed, America’s giants of industry remolded the US economy in their own image. They established their power and authority, ensuring that they—and they alone—would control the means of production, transportation, energy, and commerce—creating the conditions for the stock market collapse of 1929 and the Great Depression that followed.

As modern society continues to be affected by wealth inequality and cycles of boom and bust, it’s as important as ever to understand the origins of financial disaster, and the policies, practices, and people who bring them on. The Lords of Creation, first published when the catastrophe of the 1930s was still painfully fresh, is a fascinating story of bankers, railroad tycoons, steel magnates, speculators, scoundrels, and robber barons. It is a tale of innovation and shocking exploitation—and a sobering reminder that history can indeed repeat itself.
 
A “wonderfully written account of America in the ’30s,” the follow-up to Only Yesterday examines Black Tuesday through the end of the Depression (The New York Times).

Wall Street Journal Bestseller

Opening on September 3, 1929, in the days before the stock market crash, this information-packed volume takes us through one of America’s darkest times all the way to the light at the end of the tunnel.
 
Following Black Tuesday, America plunged into the Great Depression. Panic and fear gripped the nation. Banks were closing everywhere. In some cities, 84 percent of the population was unemployed and starving. When Franklin D. Roosevelt took office in 1933,  public confidence in the nation slowly began to grow, and by 1936, the industrial average, which had plummeted in 1929 from 125 to fifty-eight, had risen again to almost one hundred. But America still had a long road ahead. Popular historian Frederick Lewis Allen brings to life these ten critical years. With wit and empathy, he draws a devastating economic picture of small businesses swallowed up by large corporations—a ruthless bottom line not so different from what we see today. Allen also chronicles the decade’s lighter side: the fashions, morals, sports, and candid cameras that were revolutionizing Americans’ lives.  
 
From the Lindbergh kidnapping to the New Deal, from the devastating dust storms that raged through our farmlands to the rise of Benny Goodman, the public adoration of Shirley Temple, and our mass escape to the movies, this book is a hopeful and powerful reminder of why history matters.
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