Cover image for Devil take the hindmost : a history of financial speculation
Devil take the hindmost : a history of financial speculation
Chancellor, Edward, 1962-
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1999.
Physical Description:
xiv, 386 pages ; 24 cm
"This bubble world": the origins of financial speculation -- Stockjobbing in 'Change Alley: the projecting age of the 1690s -- "The never-to-be-forgot or forgiven South-Sea Scheme" -- Fool's gold: the emerging markets of the 1820s -- "A ready communication: the railway mania of 1845 -- "Befooled, bewitched and bedeviled": speculation in the gilded age -- The end of a new era: the crash of 1929 and its aftermath -- Cowboy capitalism: from Bretton Woods to Michael Milken -- Kamikaze capitalism: the Japanese bubble economy of the 1980s.
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HG6005 .C48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HG6005 .C48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area
HG6005 .C48 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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A lively and authoritative look at speculation from early modern times to the present. Focusing on speculation as it developed in the world's leading stock markets, Edward Chancellor's story starts with the tulipomania in seventeenth-century Holland, then moves to Britain with accounts of speculative manias such as the South Sea Bubble and the Railway Mania. From the mid-nineteenth century, the narrative turns to the United States, with chapters on the Gilded Age, the Roaring Twenties, and the revival of speculation since the early 1970s, then portrays the disastrous Bubble Economy of Japan in the 1980s. Chancellor shows that the impulses that have shaped speculative behavior are at odds with the orthodox theory of efficient markets. His comprehensive history is interspersed with trenchant commentary on speculation in the 1990s, including such current issues as emerging markets, Internet and foreign-currency speculation, rogue traders, the great U.S. bull market, and our current financial predicament.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

For the subject of financial disasters, Charles Kindleberger's Manias, Panics, and Crashes and Robert Sobel's Panic on Wall Street are classics. Chancellor's book will well complement those two standards. Although speculation does not necessarily lead to disaster, the two often go hand in hand. Chancellor studied history at Cambridge and Oxford and contributes to the Financial Times and the Economist. He readily admits that his is not a comprehensive history; instead, he concentrates on notable "occurrences of speculation" and emphasizes their social context. He traces the antecedents of speculation to ancient Rome, but his account begins with a depiction of the tulipomania that swept the Dutch Republic in 1630. Other episodes include the South Sea Bubble, railway mania, the Gilded Age, the crash of 1929, and Japan's 1980s "bubble economy." Noticeably absent is the current craze for Internet-related stocks, but readers will be able to draw parallels from Chancellor's examples. Even though it is loaded down with erudite references, Chancellor's book remains fascinatingly readable. --David Rouse

Library Journal Review

In an era of rampant speculation and questionable investor habits, it is a pleasure to read an insightful, well-focused analysis of the events that have dominated social and economic history since at least the second century B.C.E. Starting with the speculative frenzy that gripped ancient Rome, British business journalist Chancellor goes on to provide keen insight into a wide variety of events, including the emergence of stock exchanges from the great fairs of northern Europe, the tulip mania that gripped the Dutch Republic in the 1630s, the insanity of the Mississippi and South Sea bubbles, the robber barons and their impact during the Gilded Age, the events leading to the Crash of 1929, the Japanese bubble economy of the 1980s, the Mexican crisis of 1994, the Asian market crisis of 1997, and the speculative manias that have accompanied the emergence of new technologies, including railroads, the telegraph, automobiles, radio, and the Internet. A well-rounded presentation that should be included in all public and academic libraries.√ĄNorman B. Hutcherson, Beale Memorial Lib., Bakersfield, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Choice Review

Chancellor, a freelance journalist who has worked in finance, chronicles stock market speculation from the 17th century to the present day. The book is divided into nine chapters, arranged chronologically. The first three deal with the 17th and 18th centuries: one discusses the origins of financial speculation, the second stockjobbing in the 1690s, and the third the South Sea Bubble of the 1720s. The second three focus on the 19th century: the emerging markets of Latin America and elsewhere in the 1820s, the railway mania of the 1840s, and speculation in the Gilded Age at the end of the century. The final three consider episodes from the 20th century: the crash of 1929 and its aftermath, excesses in the US during the post-WW II period, and in Japan during the 1980s. The author relies on secondary sources in his account. This nontechnical book will appeal to anyone interested in financial--particularly stock market--history, and given continuing fascination with the market, despite its ups and downs, it will attract a wide range of readers. Public, academic, and professional libraries. R. Grossman Wesleyan University

Table of Contents

Preface: Devil Take the Hindmostp. ix
1. "This Bubble World": The Origins of Financial Speculationp. 3
2. Stockjobbing in 'Change Alley: The Projecting Age of the 1690sp. 30
3. "The Never-to-Be-Forgot or Forgiven South-Sea Scheme"p. 58
4. Fool's Gold: The Emerging Markets of the 1820sp. 96
5. "A Ready Communication": The Railway Mania of 1845p. 122
6. "Befooled, Bewitched and Bedeviled": Speculation in the Gilded Agep. 152
7. The End of a New Era: The Crash of 1929 and Its Aftermathp. 191
8. Cowboy Capitalism: From Bretton Woods to Michael Milkenp. 233
9. Kamikaze Capitalism: The Japanese Bubble Economy of the 1980sp. 283
Epilogue: The Case of the Rogue Economistsp. 328
Notesp. 351
For Further Referencep. 367
Acknowledgmentsp. 371
Indexp. 373