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Rampant speculation. Record trading volumes. Assets bought not because of their value but because the buyer believes he can sell them for more in a day or two, or an hour or two. Welcome to the late 1920s. There are obvious and absolute parallels to the great bull market of the late 1990s, writes Galbraith in a new introduction dated 1997. Of course, Galbraith notes, every financial bubble since 1929 has been compared to the Great Crash, which is why this book has never been out of print since it became a bestseller in 1955.
Galbraith writes with great wit and erudition about the perilous actions of investors, and the curious inaction of the government. He notes that the problem wasn't a scarcity of securities to buy and sell; "the ingenuity and zeal with which companies were devised in which securities might be sold was as remarkable as anything." Those words become strikingly relevant in light of revenue-negative start-up companies coming into the market each week in the 1990s, along with fragmented pieces of established companies, like real estate and bottling plants. Of course, the 1920s were different from the 1990s. There was no safety net below citizens, no unemployment insurance or Social Security. And today we don't have the creepy investment trusts--in which shares of companies that held some stocks and bonds were sold for several times the assets' market value. But, boy, are the similarities spooky, particularly the prevailing trend at the time toward corporate mergers and industry consolidations--not to mention all the partially informed people who imagined themselves to be financial geniuses because the shares of stock they bought kept going up. --Lou Schuler
John Kenneth Galbraith who was born in 1908, is the Paul M. Warburg Professor of Economics Emeritus at Harvard University and a past president of the American Academy of Arts and Letters. He is the distinguished author of thirty-one books spanning three decades, including The Affluent Society, The Good Society, and The Great Crash. He has been awarded honorary degrees from Harvard, Oxford, the University of Paris, and Moscow University, and in 1997 he was inducted into the Order of Canada and received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2000, at a White House ceremony, he was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
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... Read morePublished on June 21 2013 by ogilvie
Galbraith wrote this book as a warning. People have to understand who a bubble can be created. And bubbles are pretty in every country and in every moment of the capitalism. Read morePublished on Jan. 6 2011 by O. Grigoras
The book The Great Crash 1929 by John Kenneth Galbraith was very informative, full of facts and other things which made me understand what the great crash was all about. Read morePublished on Oct. 20 2002
I had to read this book for a history class in college. Being someone who knows absolutely nothing about the stock market, I found this book very hard to understand and follow. Read morePublished on March 19 2002
Having just lived through the crash of the dot-com stocks, I thought it was a particularly appropriate moment to reread John Kenneth Galbraith's famous history of the stock market... Read morePublished on Oct. 24 2001 by Donald Mitchell
This book contains a great explanation abouth the 1929 crash. But, under my point of view, the most important aspect is that most of the features described in the book can be seen... Read morePublished on Aug. 15 2001 by Jimmy Izu
Want to know how the unthinkable could happen? Fear not this book exposes the overoptimistic attitude of the average american investor circa 1929, with amazing parallels to the... Read morePublished on May 27 2001 by Mr. J. Holroyd
This book a must for those interested in the "...this time is different..." phenomenon. It is very well written and not too technical. Enjoy.Published on April 8 2001