I thoroughly enjoyed Bernard Baruch: The Adventures of a Wall Street Legend, by James Grant. Baruch was mentioned in my American history textbooks in the 1960s, so I was always aware of his importance. And what a varied and distinguished career! Baruch was a self-made millionaire whose moves were closely followed on Wall Street. Grant’s background in finance and as an author provided him with the perfect background to write this biographer, and he does not disappoint. Grant traces – and explains – Baruch’s investment decisions, the research that proceeded those decisions, and places all this in the context of the market and macro-economy of the era. Grant is masterful as he explains why and how Baruch took long and short positions on stocks, how had won, and how he sometimes lost.
Grant does an equally fine job in tracing Baruch’s service as head of the War Industries Board in World War One, and in detailing the political intrigue of the decades that followed his 1917 departure from the New York Stock Exchange. That includes Baruch during the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, World War Two, and the remainder of his life. And do you want to know how Baruch worked with, and advised, presidents such as Woodrow Wilson, FDR and JFK, and his good friend Winston Churchill? It’s all here.
This is a book that should be on the reading list of every high school and college student, and is a perfect blend of information and enjoyment. Don’t miss it!