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Publisher's Summary

In this absorbing, smart, and accessible blend of economic and cultural history in the vein of the works of Michael Lewis and Andrew Ross Sorkin, a financial executive and CNBC contributor examines the five most significant stock market crashes in the United States over the past century, revealing how they have defined the nation today.

The Panic of 1907; Black Tuesday (1929); Black Monday (1987); the Great Recession (2008); the Flash Crash (2010): Each of these financial implosions that caused a catastrophic drop in the American stock market is a remarkable story in its own right. But taken together, they offer a unique financial history of the American century. In A History of the United States in Five Crashes, financial executive and CNBC contributor Scott Nations examines these precipitous dips, revealing how each played a role in America's political and cultural fabric, one building upon the next to create the nation we know today.

Scott Nations identifies the factors behind the disastrous runs on banks that led to the Panic of 1907, the first great scare of the 20th century. He explains why 1920s America adopted investment trusts - a practice that helped post-World War I Britain - and how they were a primary catalyst of the 1929 crash. He explores America's love affair with an expanding stock market in the 1980s - which spawned the birth of portfolio insurance that significantly contributed to the 1987 crash. And he examines the factors that led to the 2008 global meltdown and the rise of algorithmic trading, the modern financial technology that sparked the 2010 Flash Crash when American stocks lost a trillion dollars in minutes.

A History of the United States in Five Crashes clearly and compellingly illustrates the connections between these financial collapses and examines the solid, clear-cut lessons they offer for preventing the next one.

©2017 Scott Nations (P)2017 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Philo
  • San Diego, CA, United States
  • 06-17-17

A solid telling of crucial history

This book sticks pretty closely to its knitting. It is here to tell us basic financial narratives of these particular stretches of time, with some supporting context. It tells (I think the most mainstream or popular) narratives, more detail-rich than one might find in a few simple news stories, in fairly non-technical language and straightforwardly, without wandering afield into alternative explanations or ideological tangents, and without attempting really wide-ranging commentary on what followed each crash. (Some patterns are noted from crash to crash.) There is enough context to understand each story in its times -- what the surrounding markets were like, what investors were popularly thinking, etc. Explanations are stripped down in the sense of, this caused that, without a lot of time spent speculating on alternative models or compound, complex causes. So, this is an ideal introduction to the topics covered. I appreciated the more detailed walk-throughs (than I have found in other audios) of 1987's so-called Black Monday, and 2010's Flash Crash. These are good introductory examples of a kind of accelerated and tech-driven crash we may expect to unfold (ever faster) in the future. The explanations got into good detail moment-to-moment to imagine how such things can go.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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A must read for every individual

I highly recommend that every individual whether they have a financial background or a total communist, with a liberal arts background, must read this book, so that they understand the very mechanics that conspire and create the five Market crashes. That way, both the left, the right and the center have a valid understanding of how the stock market behaves, crests, and fails.

in so understanding, we have a common and understood platform from which, we can then begin a common discussion of how to resolve the current inequalities of wealth.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Wow. I need to listen @ 3 times.

A very interesting and frightnening book, making my stomach turn repeatedly while reading it and at present given my losses over the past week. One thing is certain, human hubris knows no limits and the stock market is the one place outide of religion where people should FEAR expertise while the rest of functioning society should and needs to rely upon it. It is not just that there is no such thing as a sure thing, but that this is often obviously the case. It is just that people . . supposedly smart people, close their eyes to the obvious so that they can make their killing and get out before the probabilities catch up to them. This book exposes a system that while it .y be in theory, the greatest engine for growth (through the capital it attracts that can be used to expand business) it is far dirtier, sloppier and criminal than can possibly be understood from a brief look at the headlines. I hope this idiotic trade war will not be remembered as the catalyst of hubris and stupidity that sets off the next crash. Ugh. The only downside (or upside?) is that this exposed how little I truly know about the modern market, fiscal or monetary policy or just about anything else. Time to go study.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic insight into some dark days

No way I could have finished this book in print. The numbers and references were extensive and we'll used to illustrate the severity of the issues. The author went to great lengths to identify how deep and far the problems were that causes the crashes.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Highly Educational

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

I found this book to be highly educational. The Stock Market is probably the best representation of capitalistm in action and when it goes horribly wrong, it is very interesting to analyze why and how it happened. It was fascinating to read so many details behind each of the crashes that I never knew about. In particular, I enjoyed the details about the Flash Crash of 2010. I remember the day it happened and the news reports, but never got so much detail as what was narrated in the book. Truly fascinating!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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great book

one of the best books in finance the talks about the crash and it should be at the book taught in every Finance class

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A Fantastic Look At the United $tate$ - Riveting

Well, good thing it is digital because I would have worn out an LP by now! The narration is excellent, the story and the perspective are relatable to the "everyman". I listen to parts of this book over and over again each week. I never get bored and, like watching my favorite movie repeatedly, I realize something about the story that I did not understand before!

If you like having the "mysteries" of Wall Street and the U.S.A. financial system de-mystified at your leisure, this is the book for you!!!!

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Great economic review of 5 important crashes

Very Professional and clear review of the most important and devastating crashes of the US economy

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Enlightening!

As a financial advisor this was must do reading. Better than most classes I took over the years in understanding the economics and political situation surrounding vital Market problems.

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Everyone Should Read

Enjoyable read and helpful for understanding market crashes. If you are interested in the market you will enjoy this book

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-08-18

Too many numbers

Narrator was good for listening but there were too many numbers and decimals to follow.

eg. this person caused this drop and the DOW closed at something something point something contrary to its close on this date which was something something point something something then opened the following trading day at something something point something, something percent lower than its 52 week high of something something point something that occurred the previous month.

Personally found it hard to follow in that sense but it was incredibly detailed.