Why did I love this book?
Chicago’s famous ‘open-outcry’ trading pits were packed with hundreds of traders making deals with each other using eye contact and hand signals, or simply shouting out their bids and offers. Anthropologist Caitlin Zaloom did something quite extraordinary. She studied these pits ‘from the inside’ (as a trader’s clerk) and then went on to examine the electronic trading that was starting to replace them – herself becoming a trader. Her book represents anthropology at its most skilled and offers a fascinating glimpse of the lost world of face-to-face trading (nearly all of Chicago’s pits are now closed).
I researched Chicago’s pits myself in the years in which they still flourished, but not in the depth that Zaloom achieved. I’m in awe of her fabulous fieldwork.