You are previewing Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920–1938.
O'Reilly logo
Once in Golconda: A True Drama of Wall Street 1920–1938

Book Description

From the New York Times–bestselling author of Business Adventures comes the chronicle of the stock market crash of 1929 and its aftermath

Legend had it that anyone who passed through Golconda, a city in southern India, attained tremendous wealth. But Golconda, now in ruins, ran out of riches, and its glory vanished forever. Some have painted a similar picture of Wall Street between the two world wars. But there is more to the story of the bull market of the 1920s and the ensuing economic devastation that befell the United States.

In fascinating detail, distinguished journalist John Brooks recounts the euphoric financial climb of the twenties as well as the vertiginous crash of 1929. From the heady days of economic prosperity to the sobering time after the collapse, Brooks’s rendering of this tale of vast fortune and then tragic misfortune is both dramatic and percipient. Profiling some of the era’s most famous—and infamous—bankers, traders, and hucksters, Brooks gives a stunning and colorful account of this period of boom and bust.

“John Brooks is an unbelievable business writer.” —Bill Gates

“[Brooks] provides the early version of what we think of as Malcolm Gladwell–style or Freakonomics-style lessons. . . . But Brooks features another trait that modern business writers, whether James Stewart, Malcolm Gladwell, or Michael Lewis, do not. Brooks is truly willing to give up his own views to get inside the mind of all his subjects.” —National Review

“Civilized and superior history superbly written.” —John Kenneth Galbraith

“In this book, John Brooks—who was one of the most elegant of all business writers—perfectly catches the flavor of one of history’s best-known financial dramas: the 1929 crash and its aftershocks. It’s packed with parallels and parables for the modern reader.” —From the foreword by Richard Lambert

“A fast-moving, sophisticated account . . . embracing the stock-market boom of the twenties, the crash of 1929, the Depression, and the coming of the New Deal. Its leitmotif is the truly tragic personal history of Richard Whitney, the aristocrat Morgan broker and head of the Stock Exchange, who ended up in Sing Sing.” —Edmund Wilson

“As Mr. Brooks tells this tale of dishonor, desperation, and the fall of the mighty, it takes on overtones of Greek tragedy, a king brought down by pride. Whitney’s sordid history has been told before . . . But in Mr. Brooks’s hands, the drama becomes freshly shocking.” —The Wall Street Journal

“It’s all there in Once in Golconda: the avarice of an era that favored the rich; and the later anguish of myriads of speculators doomed by a bloated market, easy credit, and their own cupidity and stupidity.” —Saturday Review
 
John Brooks (1920–1993) was an award-winning writer best known for his contributions to the New Yorker as a financial journalist. He was also the author of ten nonfiction books on business and finance, a number of which were critically acclaimed works examining Wall Street and the corporate world. His books Once in Golconda, The Go-Go Years, and Business Adventures have endured as classics. Although he is remembered primarily for his writings on financial topics, Brooks published three novels and wrote book reviews for Harper’s Magazine and the New York Times Book Review.