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The Great Crash of 1929 Paperback – Apr 2 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; None edition (April 2 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395859999
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395859995
  • Product Dimensions: 20.8 x 14 x 1.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 227 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #262,782 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Ben R. on Feb. 10 2002
Format: Paperback
Recall the talk before the bust of the "New Economy," in which distended P/E ratios and lack of profits were to be irrelevant. Recall Enron's public proclamations of its stability and projected earnings increases. Keep these in mind as you read The Great Crash, and you will never again listen to an analyst, much less an executive.
Galbraith's theme is that market stability and corporate interests are fundamentally at odds. CEOs will never speak evil about their own companies or the condition of the market, so their speech is about as useful to an investor as a pre-game pep talk is to a bettor. Analysts, as well as executives, are salesmen of their own stock, and their primary objective is to get you to buy high.
So why did the 1929 -- or the 2000 -- crash occur? Buying high is great as long as someone is always buying higher; however, such an aggrandized pyramid scheme is doomed to failure. It's as simple as that. So why, then, read Galbraith's book? He is a talented storyteller, and he highlights themes that are likely to accompany future bubbles so that the reader knows what to be skeptical about. This is a very entertaining read, and if you actively compare what Galbraith tells you of the 20's to what you know about the 90's, you'll likely not be swept away by future investing mania.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Donald Gillies on Oct. 30 2001
Format: Paperback
This book does a poor job of explaining what caused the depression. It gives a sarcastic narrative of some of the bad practices leading up until 1929, and the sarcasm is amusing. After the sarcasm, in about february of 1930, it stops and draws unjustified and unsupported conclusions. The narrative comes mainly from reading the New York newspapers. A description of what happened in rural areas and at small banks is not included. You will not understand what a run on a bank is, and how small banks were leveraged and destroyed by the depression. You will hear nothing about the propensity of the federal reserve to keep interest rates too high from 1929 - 1933, and will not know how much they should have been lowered, or if lowering them would have been ineffective. You will not learn how to draw your own economic conclusions by reading this book. Because the book is 100% text, a large opportunity is missed to explain some of the economic history through pictures.
I think the book is popular because it was written by a Harvard Professor. I have read several books on the depression and this one, because of the hype, was the greatest disappointment.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Raziel on Dec 11 2000
Format: Paperback
The book The Great Crash: 1929, by John Galbraith, is a cynical look at the stock market crash of 1929. In his book he tries to convince the reader of the stupidity of the American people for not realizing the eventual collapse of the stock market. The book for what it is worth is factual and the only point is to explain the crash and the stupidity of the people involved. He writes with a style that is cynical, yet all knowing. He makes it very obvious why the crash occurred but when it comes to explaining how it could have been avoided he gets rather shady. All in all, this book is just a factual account of the tragedy of the stock market crash of 1929.
Galbraith starts his book off with the people, and their mindsets, involved in the pre-crash years. In the beginning it seems that people would have known about the stock market crash eventually to occur, but if they did they did not care. People in the years from 1925 to 1929 played the stock market without really even paying for it. In those years you could go to a broker and purchase stock on margin, which means that instead of buying your stocks with the money you have, you put down 10% and make monthly payments. Since everyone was doing it the stock rose and was became worth more in days or even hours so you ended up not even paying for it. The average person would think at this point that people knew that this would not last forever, but they didn't care because they were making money at the time. The question is why did the government not do anything to stop this. Well before the crash Coolidge was in office and he did not care what happened. In 1929 Hoover was inaugurated and he and the F.R.B started having meetings every day about the condition of the stock market.
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By ogilive on June 21 2013
Format: Paperback
This short book contains some of JKG's characteristic wit and insight, but much of it is made of the sort of list-of-big-business numbers trivia one would expect to find in Forbes or The Economist. (Strangely, the most boring of these chapters is anthologized in "The Essential Galbraith.") It is worth reading for hard-core students of the 1929 crash -- little is said about the Depression in these few pages -- and Galbraith fans. However, recent books such as Liquat Ahamed's Lords of Finance and Michael Perino's The Hellhound of Wall Street are far more comprehensive -- and less like suffering through The Economist.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By N. Tsafos on Oct. 29 2003
Format: Paperback
Economics, like physics, has a fundamental canon: you cannot make money out of nothing. To narrate the history of financial bubbles is to chronicle those times when people overlooked that fact. In those instances, asset prices soar merely to be resold for profit, with little regard as to their actual value; when something shakes confidence and buyers are in short supply, a crash follows as prices were sustainable only insofar as they could be resold higher.

According to John Galbraith, the stock-market crash that took place in the fall of 1929 was typical of this prototype. Mr. Galbraith, a Harvard economist, traced the optimism to the Florida real-estate bubble of 1925 which made people forget the elementary rules of money making. What follows is an elegant narrative that interweaves economics with history to produce one of the most telling and lucid accounts of the developments, economic and otherwise, that lead up to the October 1929 crash.

The crash, according to Mr. Galbraith, was caused by an admixture of bad income distribution (economy too dependent on luxury spending and investment), bad corporate structure, bad banking structure, foreign imbalances, and bad economic intelligence. In seeking compelling explanations, the "Great Crash" often resists conventional wisdom: for example, to those who blame the abundance of credit, Mr. Galbraith answers: "on numerous occasions before and since credit has been easy, and there has been no speculation whatever." Mr. Galbraith looks beyond central banking and interest rates to compile a rich and diverse history of the 1929 crash.

So what about preventing future crises? Here, Mr. Galbraith is ambivalent. Regulation has and can play a substantial role in preventing future troubles.
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