Rainbow's End
Rainbow's End tells the story of the stock market collapse in a colorful, swift-moving narrative that blends a vivid portrait of the 1920s with an intensely gripping account of Wall Street's greatest catastrophe. The book offers a vibrant picture of a world full of plungers, powerful bankers, corporate titans, millionaire brokers, and buoyantly optimistic stock market bulls. We meet Sunshine Charley Mitchell, head of the National City Bank, powerful financiers Jack Morgan and Jacob Schiff, Wall Street manipulators such as the legendary Jesse Livermore, and the lavish-living Billy Durant, founder of General Motors. As Klein follows the careers of these men, he shows us how the financial house of cards gradually grew taller, as the irrational exuberance of an earlier age gripped America and convinced us that the market would continue to rise forever. Then, in October 1929, came a "perfect storm"-like convergence of factors that shook Wall Street to its foundations. We relive Black Thursday, when police lined Wall Street, brokers grew hysterical, customers "bellowed like lunatics," and the ticker tape fell hours behind. This compelling history of the Crash--the first to follow the market closely for the two years leading up to the disaster--illuminates a major turning point in our history.

Rainbow's End Details

TitleRainbow's End
Author
FormatPaperback
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 1st, 2003
PublisherOxford University Press, USA
ISBN0195158016
ISBN-139780195158014
Number of pages368 pages
Rating
GenreHistory, Nonfiction, Business, North American Hi..., American History, Economics, Finance

Rainbow's End Review

  • Christine
    October 1, 2008
    This didn't really answer any questions so much as give a rundown of what happened during the Crash. I learned a lot of things that I didn't know before, but I didn't necessarily learn the things I wanted to. The one unsettling thing that I definitely did pick up is that this could definitely happen again. Creepy.
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  • Scott
    June 1, 2009
    The amazing lesson from this depression is that no one knows much about the real causes and effect of ANYTHING." -- W. W. Kiplinger (1929)What caused the Great Crash of 1929? That's what I've been trying to figure out the last few weeks. Stocks were over valued, but there wasn't a typical bubble that suddenly burst sending the markets spiraling downward. Certainly fear turned to panic selling forced the markets abruptly down during the last weeks of October. But what triggered the first massive The amazing lesson from this depression is that no one knows much about the real causes and effect of ANYTHING." -- W. W. Kiplinger (1929)What caused the Great Crash of 1929? That's what I've been trying to figure out the last few weeks. Stocks were over valued, but there wasn't a typical bubble that suddenly burst sending the markets spiraling downward. Certainly fear turned to panic selling forced the markets abruptly down during the last weeks of October. But what triggered the first massive wave of selling? Who pulled the carpet out from under Wall Street, and how? Turns out that no one may ever be able to put a thumb on the ultimate cause. Henry Ford curtly said the crash was due to a "serious withdrawal of brains from business." Klein offers a much more ambitious explanation. He argues that the market's crashing was due to a "perfect storm" created by several small, marginally interrelated cultural and economic factors that all contributed to creating the great market meltdown. He attempts to "convey ... a sense of the interplay between the shifting mood of Americans ... and the key events that influenced them.... in this way can one begin to comprehend what was involved in this pivotal moment." Sounds intriguing. Unfortunately, his argument isn't at all persuasive.Instead of revealing clear cause and effect relationships between cultural phenomena and market trends, Klein gives us over 200 pages of social history and biography, which -- interesting as pole sitting, the founding of GM, and the scandalous adventures of Aimee Semple McPherson may be -- are never clearly tied to the pivotal moment of the market's first stumble. The crash itself doesn't occur until two-thirds of the way through the book and is over within a few pages. I was left feeling as bewildered about what just happened as any trader on the floor must have felt on Black Thursday. The last two chapters wander off into the 1930s, tracing some of the government's attempts to slow the country's descent into the Great Depression. I got to the last page expecting to find a chapter that would some how tie all his information together, offering some sort of conclusion. But instead, when I turned the page, all I found were the notes and bibliography. Oh Maury, you've fallen far short of your promise to explain the Crash in terms of American's preoccupation with fads, advertising, and proto-televangelism.So maybe Kiplinger got it right 80 years ago: maybe nobody will ever really know what let loose that first disastrous sell-off. Better though to admit that you don't really have the answer than to drag your readers through nearly 300 pages of rehashed social history and then sneak out the back door leaving your guests bemused and befuddled.
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  • Brian
    November 1, 2011
    At Rainbow's End provides a succinct yet through look at the Great Depression and how it changed life in America. By tracking the propensities of the 1920s and the rise of consumer culture the reader gets a clear picture of the investment frenzy that gripped the nation. The over valuation of stocks and the financial crisis is clearly laid out in laymen's terms with an overview for those who want the technical financial explanation. It tracks interesting vignettes and mini biographies of major pl At Rainbow's End provides a succinct yet through look at the Great Depression and how it changed life in America. By tracking the propensities of the 1920s and the rise of consumer culture the reader gets a clear picture of the investment frenzy that gripped the nation. The over valuation of stocks and the financial crisis is clearly laid out in laymen's terms with an overview for those who want the technical financial explanation. It tracks interesting vignettes and mini biographies of major players and how they affected and were changed by the depression. It does not look at the solutions to the depression, only the causes. This is an average entry into the Pivotal Moments in American history. The problem is that this is such a no brainier event for the series that it does not take much convincing and this book does not try to do so. Instead it tries to give a social perspective which while new and different may not excite all readers. It is still a great book and one that provides a new perspective. For those interested in the roaring twenties it is a great book to look at.
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  • Andrea
    June 16, 2009
    Like another reviewer said, "This didn't really answer any questions so much as give a rundown of what happened during the Crash. I learned a lot of things that I didn't know before, but I didn't necessarily learn the things I wanted to." I liked the details of the different key players (the wealthy and powerful people of the day). I was amazed to learn how people went crazy over property in Florida, over stocks, over anything that might bring instant wealth. The thing I wanted to know was how t Like another reviewer said, "This didn't really answer any questions so much as give a rundown of what happened during the Crash. I learned a lot of things that I didn't know before, but I didn't necessarily learn the things I wanted to." I liked the details of the different key players (the wealthy and powerful people of the day). I was amazed to learn how people went crazy over property in Florida, over stocks, over anything that might bring instant wealth. The thing I wanted to know was how that crash was similar to the one we just experienced. One similarity I noticed was the how the ripple effect eventually affected the whole economy. It took three years for the ripple effect to penetrate the economy and totally shut it down. The author made the crash more dramatic by taking it down to a play by play of each day and the uncertainties that people experienced especially on the weekends as they waited to find out what the stock market would do on Monday morning.
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  • Randy DiFrischia
    January 25, 2017
    Fortunes made and lostWe have all heard the story of the stock market crash of 1929 but few as myself never knew who all the major players were and certain events that helped bring on the inevitable crash. I learned so much about those powerful holders of mass wealth and there businesses that I never knew of before reading the book. It's a very good historical look into a time gone by with a underlying message of no matter how wealthy one is it can all be lost almost overnight.
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  • Martha Smith
    November 16, 2011
    History. I thoroughly enjoyed every page of this book. Klein paints the most compelling picture yet of the stock-market crash of 1929. Klein tells the story of the crash clearly and well, with some especially good pen portraits of characters such as Tomas Lamont, Jesse Livermore, Charley Mitchell and Albert Wiggin.
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  • Rocky
    February 19, 2008
    Great book that does a great job explaining WHY the Depression happened, and not just what happened. I have read quite a bit on this topic, but Klein's information and presentation make this one of the better books on a topic that is often misunderstood.
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  • Bethany
    February 28, 2010
    Pretty interesting book on the build-up and event of the crash. Really mainly a narrative of the political and business leaders of the late '20s, not as much an explanation of the crash, which is what I was hoping for.
  • Sharlene
    February 9, 2015
    Good historical account of the crash and the aftermath.
  • Patrick Grady
    June 19, 2007
    great book - interesting characters from a long gone time that carries erie parallels to the great stock market frenzy of the late 90's early 2000's.
  • Scott Birk
    July 17, 2010
    Excellent book that explains the events surrounding the crash of 1929 that led up to the Great Depression.
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