Taming the Street: The Old Guard, the New Deal, and FDR's Fight to Regulate American Capitalism

The immense power, scale, and complexity of the U.S. financial system can make it seem conceptually and practically impossible to regulate by even the most skilled and well-meaning overseers. But in Taming the Street, award-winning journalist Diana B. Henriques (A First-Class Catastrophe) unites primary source documents public and private to craft a riveting chronological narrative of a dedicated, brilliant, and tough set of individuals who forever changed the workings of Wall Street and publicly traded companies. The book revolves around four characters: Franklin Delano Roosevelt, the 32nd U.S. president; Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., father of John and Robert Kennedy, wildly successful businessman, and the first chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC); William Douglas, Yale law professor, third chairman of the SEC, and eventual Supreme Court Justice; and Dick Whitney, an esteemed member of old-guard Wall Street whose disgrace was the final nail in the coffin of the industry's old ways.

Set primarily in the 1930s as the New Deal transformed the country, the book chronicles events big and small--nail-biting elections, backroom dealmaking, the minutiae of drafting regulations, and the gory spectacle of corruption. Henriques also writes about often overlooked stories, such as the drive to regulate utility companies whose monopolistic control of electricity was throttling the economy. She writes in the readable style of long-form journalism, and possesses an excellent sense for the appropriate historical context, as well as a commitment to truth-telling about the personal and private lives of the book's subjects. Taming the Street is an extensive account of an extraordinary series of monumental efforts. --Walker Minot, writer and editor

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