The most recommended books on the Wall Street Crash of 1929

Who picked these books? Meet our 13 experts.

13 authors created a book list connected to the Wall Street Crash of 1929, and here are their favorite Wall Street Crash of 1929 books.
Shepherd is reader supported. When you buy books, we may earn an affiliate commission.

What type of Wall Street Crash of 1929 book?

Loading...

Book cover of The Clewiston Test

Gwyneth Jones Author Of Proof of Concept

From my list on classic lab-science sci-fi thrillers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m fascinated by the sciences, and I love mysteries. I’m too lazy, unfocused, and poor at math, ever to have been a scientist, and I’ve never been tempted to try a career as a detective. Instead, I’ve spent my life pursuing fairytales, thrillers, ghost stories, and even horror and romance — as long as there are mysteries involved. By now I see the patterns and rhythms, and set-pieces that appear again, and again, and I can point them out to you (as long as you don’t mind knowing how the story’s been made). But I never get tired of the endless variations on this theme of finding things out. 

Gwyneth's book list on classic lab-science sci-fi thrillers

Gwyneth Jones Why did Gwyneth love this book?

Brilliant young scientist develops a miraculous new pain-killer. A goldmine for the pharmaceutical company! But is the serum really safe? Ann Clewiston Symonds, the scientist at the heart of this story, comes up against Big Pharma’s disdain for ethical issues, and then a car crash dumps her on the customer’s side of the counter. What follows is riveting, chilling, and still horribly relevant today. Kate Wilhelm was extremely good at telling the hard truths about sci-fi material, that sci-fi usually avoids, and this is her best.

By Kate Wilhelm,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Clewiston Test as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The Clewiston test


Book cover of The Hellhound of Wall Street: How Ferdinand Pecora's Investigation of the Great Crash Forever Changed American Finance

Matthew P. Fink Author Of The Unlikely Reformer: Carter Glass and Financial Regulation

From my list on American financial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always interested in American history and studied at Brown University under an outstanding professor of American economic history, James Blaine Hedges.   During my career at the mutual fund association I often approached issues from an historical perspective. For example:  Why did Congress draft legislation in a particular way?  How would past events likely affect a regulator’s decisions today?  As a lawyer I had been trained to write carefully and precisely.  As a lobbyist I learned the need to pre

Matthew's book list on American financial history

Matthew P. Fink Why did Matthew love this book?

Professor Perino’s book explains how Ferdinand Pecora, counsel to the Senate Banking Committee, ran the explosive hearings that virtually guaranteed Glass-Steagall’s enactment. I particularly enjoyed reading about Pecora because he and the subject of my book, Carter Glass, were allies in the battle for financial reform. While Perino is a distinguished professor of law, he writes in a non-legalistic and gripping style.

By Michael Perino,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Hellhound of Wall Street as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A gripping account of the underdog Senate lawyer who unmasked the financial wrongdoing that led to the Crash of 1929 and forever changed the relationship between Washington and Wall Street.

In The Hellhound of Wall Street, Michael Perino recounts in riveting detail the 1933 hearings that put Wall Street on trial for the Great Crash. Never before in American history had so many financial titans been called to account before the public, and they had come within a few weeks of emerging unscathed. By the time Ferdinand Pecora, a Sicilian immigrant and former New York prosecutor, took over as chief…


Book cover of The Lights That Failed: European International History 1919-1933

László Borhi Author Of Hungary in the Cold War, 1945-1956: Between the United States and the Soviet Union

From my list on the search for truth in history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I come from a small country, Hungary, the past of which was consciously falsified in the political system under which I grew up. Some chapters of it, like the cold war period, Soviet rule, the revolution of 1956 couldn't even be discussed. I was lucky because communism collapsed and archives were gradually opened just as I started my career as a historian. Books on international history are usually written from the perspective of the powerful states, I was interested in looking at this story from the perspective of the small guy. Writing this book was both a professional challenge and a personal matter for me. I'm currently a professor at Indiana University-Bloomington.

László's book list on the search for truth in history

László Borhi Why did László love this book?

This is a book for academics, college professors, graduate students, and those members of the educated public who are interested in historical scholarship at its best.

This, at first sight intimidatingly large volume makes a deep dive into the diplomatic history of the first decade after the first world war. All angles, diplomatic, intelligence, and economic are examined from the perspective of the actors of the international stage, large and small alike.

The magnitude of Steiner’s work can be compared to Gibbon’s opus on the Roman Empire – it will remain a classic in the genre. It took a lifetime to piece together the puzzle of why the stabilization of Europe in the aftermath of the hitherto most destructive war in history.

This book – and its sequel, The Triumph of the Dark is a must for those who are interested in understanding the vast complexity of international politics as…

By Zara Steiner,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Lights That Failed as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The peace treaties represented an almost impossible attempt to solve the problems caused by a murderous world war. In The Lights that Failed: European International History 1919-1933, part of the Oxford History of Modern Europe series, Steiner challenges the common assumption that the Treaty of Versailles led to the opening of a second European war. In a radically original way, this book characterizes the 1920s not as a frustrated prelude to a second global conflict
but as a fascinating decade in its own right, when politicians and diplomats strove to re-assemble a viable European order. Steiner examines the efforts that…


Book cover of The Lords of Creation

Matthew P. Fink Author Of The Unlikely Reformer: Carter Glass and Financial Regulation

From my list on American financial history.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was always interested in American history and studied at Brown University under an outstanding professor of American economic history, James Blaine Hedges.   During my career at the mutual fund association I often approached issues from an historical perspective. For example:  Why did Congress draft legislation in a particular way?  How would past events likely affect a regulator’s decisions today?  As a lawyer I had been trained to write carefully and precisely.  As a lobbyist I learned the need to pre

Matthew's book list on American financial history

Matthew P. Fink Why did Matthew love this book?

Allen reaches back to the post-Civil War Gilded Age to explain the beginnings of massive finance capitalism in the United States. He then goes on to take readers through the roaring 20s, the 1929 Crash, and the New Deal’s first steps at reform, The author is an entertaining writer and fun to read. He tells fascinating stories and does not bore the reader with technical explanations and statistics.

By Frederick Lewis Allen, Mark Crispin Miller (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Lords of Creation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A "stimulating" account of the capitalists who changed America in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, setting the stage for the 1929 crash and Great Depression (Kirkus Reviews).

In the decades following the Civil War, America entered an era of unprecedented corporate expansion, with ultimate financial power in the hands of a few wealthy industrialists who exploited the system for everything it was worth. The Rockefellers, Fords, Morgans, and Vanderbilts were the "lords of creation" who, along with like-minded magnates, controlled the economic destiny of the country, unrestrained by regulations or moral imperatives. Through a combination of foresight, ingenuity,…


Book cover of The Moneychangers

Paddy Hirsch Author Of The Devil's Half Mile

From my list on glimpse into the dark heart of the financial markets (without being bored to tears).

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a career financial and business journalist, only recently turned novelist. I’m obsessed with the way that history repeats itself in the financial markets and that we never seem to learn our lessons. Fear and greed have always driven the behavior of bankers, traders, and investors; and they still do today, only barely inhibited by our regulatory system. I want to help people understand how markets work, and I like combining fiction with fact to explain these systems and how they’re abused. With that in mind, I work during the day as a reporter at NPR and by night as a scribbler of historical fiction with a financial twist.

Paddy's book list on glimpse into the dark heart of the financial markets (without being bored to tears)

Paddy Hirsch Why did Paddy love this book?

I love it because it describes exactly how Wall Street used to work in the bad old days of the early 1900s, before the Great Crash and the Great Depression, before sweeping reforms turned it into what is today. I learned so much from this story about the characters who dominated the Street and set it up for failure.

I see all sorts of parallels with the growth of cryptocurrencies and the scams that surround that industry. I love the way Sinclair describes the Wild West, the ferociously greedy mentality of the players back then, and how he details the machinations of Ponzi schemers and fraudsters before there were any laws barring such scoundrels from doing whatever they pleased with gullible investors’ money.

Book cover of Hard Times: An Oral History of the Great Depression

Ruth Talbot Author Of The Raffle Baby

From my list on the human experience during the Great Depression.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a research nerd at heart. I am happiest pouring over historic newspapers online (thank you Library of Congress) or digging into a non-fiction book. The research I do for a book can be more rewarding than writing the book itself. When I read a 1933 article about a baby that would be given away as a prize during a civic fundraiser, I was hooked. What desperation would lead a parent to give away a child? Who would buy such a raffle ticket? Who thought this would be a good idea? I never did find the answers to my questions, so I made up my own.

Ruth's book list on the human experience during the Great Depression

Ruth Talbot Why did Ruth love this book?

I read this book when I was a graduate student studying journalism, but it has never stopped resonating with me. When I began to research my novel set in the Great Depression, I returned to Hard Times and also had the good fortune to find and listen to the recordings of Terkel’s interview subjects. This book is essentially a collection of oral histories that runs the gamut of the human condition during the Great Depression: those who had everything, those who had nothing and everyone in-between. This is “person-on-the-street” journalism at its finest. The stories are mesmerizing and the voices are authentic. That is the magic of this amazing journalist who captured the voices of the world for decades.

By Studs Terkel,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Hard Times as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

From the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Good War: A masterpiece of modern journalism and "a huge anthem in praise of the American spirit" (Saturday Review).

In this "invaluable record" of one of the most dramatic periods in modern American history, Studs Terkel recaptures the Great Depression of the 1930s in all its complexity. Featuring a mosaic of memories from politicians, businessmen, artists, striking workers, and Okies, from those who were just kids to those who remember losing a fortune, Hard Times is not only a gold mine of information but a fascinating interplay of memory and fact, revealing how…


Book cover of Once in Golconda: The Great Crash of 1929 and its aftershocks

Frank Partnoy Author Of The Match King: Ivar Kreuger, the Financial Genius Behind a Century of Wall Street Scandals

From my list on financial schemes.

Why am I passionate about this?

Frank Partnoy is the Adrian A. Kragen Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, where he co-runs an annual conference on financial fraud and teaches business law. He has written four trade press books (WAITThe Match KingInfectious Greed, and F.I.A.S.C.O.), dozens of scholarly publications, and multiple articles each for The AtlanticThe New York Review of BooksHarvard Business Review, and The Wall Street Journal, as well as more than fifty opinion pieces for The New York Times and the Financial Times. Partnoy has appeared on 60 Minutes and The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, and has testified as an expert before both houses of Congress. He is a member of the Financial Economists Roundtable and has been an international research fellow at Oxford University since 2010.

Frank's book list on financial schemes

Frank Partnoy Why did Frank love this book?

There should be at least one book about the 1920s on this list, and this one deserves mention because it elegantly brings to life several of the most interesting characters from that era. There are some dubious ones, such as Jesse Livermore, the “Boy Plunger” who operated bucket shops, shady financial firms that manipulated stocks with fake news. And there are more legitimate leaders of the era: Pierpont Morgan’s son, Jack, and his brainier partner, Tom Lamont, and the power brokers of Kuhn Loeb. Brooks vividly skewers all of them. He misspelled “Golkonda,” but the essence of his story nails the excesses of the era, and is an apt reminder of how much wealth and economic inequality can result from the Federal Reserve going wild with loose monetary policy.

By John Brooks,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Once in Golconda as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Once in Golconda "In this book, John Brooks-who was one of the most elegant of all business writers-perfectly catches the flavor of one of history's best-known financial dramas: the 1929 crash and its aftershocks. It's packed with parallels and parables for the modern reader."

Once in Golconda is a dramatic chronicle of the breathtaking rise, devastating fall, and painstaking rebirth of Wall Street in the years between the wars. Focusing on the lives and fortunes of some of the era's most memorable traders, bankers, boosters, and frauds, John Brooks brings to vivid life all the ruthlessness, greed, and reckless euphoria…


Book cover of Cinderella Man: James J. Braddock, Max Baer, and the Greatest Upset in Boxing History

Joy Neal Kidney Author Of Leora's Dexter Stories: The Scarcity Years of the Great Depression

From my list on surprising stories about the Great Depression.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am the author of two books (the first book was Leora’s Letters: The Story of Love and Loss for an Iowa Family During World War II), a blogger, an Iowa historian, and a regular contributor to Our American Stories. I’ve woven letters and newspaper clippings, along with memoirs and family stories, into the narratives of the lives of Clabe and Leora Wilson. As their oldest granddaughter, I also enjoy giving programs, as well as TV and radio interviews, about the Wilson family.

Joy's book list on surprising stories about the Great Depression

Joy Neal Kidney Why did Joy love this book?

Boxing was such a popular sport during the Great Depression. My grandparents’ family regularly listened to “the fights” on the radio. Dubbed “Cinderella Man” by writer Damon Runyon, James J. Braddock, with 24 losses, won one of the biggest upsets in heavyweight boxing championship history. He defeated Max Baer on June 13, 1935, in Long Island City, New York, for the world title in a unanimous decision after a grueling 15 rounds.

The next day, Leora Wilson wrote her two sons who’d joined the Navy during the Depression, “Expect you may have heard the Braddock and Baer fight. I’m glad Braddock won–he needs the money for his family.” Not only that, but Braddock had been “on the dole” at one point, an underdog in many ways. He was so embarrassed at needing help to feed his three children that he paid back the money he’d received from the government. A…

By Jeremy Schaap,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cinderella Man as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A riveting tale of perseverance in the face of hardship, Cinderella Man is the chronicle of the boxer James J. Braddock, whose exceptional story of achievement against all odds was the subject of a major motion picture. Braddock, dubbed the Cinderella Man, staged the greatest comeback in fighting history, rising in the span of twelve months from the relief rolls to a face-off against the heavyweight champion, Max Baer.

Against the gritty backdrop of Depression-era New York, Schaap paints a vivid picture of the fight world in its golden age, evoking a time when boxing resonated with a country trying…


Book cover of Kane and Abel

Trevor D'Silva Author Of Fateful Decisions

From my list on early twentieth century history from WW1 to WW2.

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up, I loved studying history, and reading historical, family sagas, and crime novels. Even though I have four degrees—three engineering and one accountingI love to write. My goal is that my readers who don’t like history, learn it through my novels. What I like about writing is you learn not just about history not taught in school, but also other topics, including meeting and learning from very interesting people. Therefore, it is an interesting hobby to have. I am currently writing my third novel set in the 1960s, and written several articles and short stories. I have also written screenplays for two of my short stories.

Trevor's book list on early twentieth century history from WW1 to WW2

Trevor D'Silva Why did Trevor love this book?

This novel by Jeffery Archer is about the hotel industry started by Polish immigrant Abel, his rivalry with Kane, who owns a bank, and how they try to destroy each other. It is similar to the characters in my novel, but in this case, the person trying to destroy the protagonist, who also owns a chain of hotels, is not known until she is almost kidnapped, which shocks everyone. Kane and Abel helped me understand the history of early twentieth-century America, and the struggles rich people went through during the Great Depression after losing everything due to the stock market crash of 1929. So anyone who is interested in early twentieth-century history will love this book.

By Jeffrey Archer,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Kane and Abel as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Jeffrey Archer's Kane and Abel is a global phenomenon that has captivated readers worldwide, spawning two sequels and dominating bestseller charts the world over.

Two strangers born worlds apart with one destiny that will define them both.

William Lowell Kane, the son of a Boston millionaire, and Abel Rosnovski, the son of a penniless Polish immigrant, are born on the same day on opposite sides of the world and brought together by fate and the quest of a dream.

Locked in a relentless struggle spanning sixty years and three generations, the two men battle for supremacy in pursuit of an…


Book cover of Fortune Tellers: The Story of America's First Economic Forecasters

David F. Hendry Author Of Forecasting: An Essential Introduction

From my list on getting an insight into forecasting.

Why am I passionate about this?

Accurate and precise forecasting is essential for successful planning and policy from economics to epidemiology. We have been keen to understand why so many forecasts turn out to be highly inaccurate since making dreadful forecasts ourselves, and advising UK government agencies (Treasury, Parliament, Bank of England) during turbulent periods. As simple extrapolation often beats model-based forecasting, we have been developing improved methods that draw on the best aspects of both, and have published more than 60 articles and 6 books attracting more than 6000 citations by other scholars. Our recommended books cover a wide range of forecasting methods—suggesting there is no optimal way to look into the future.

David's book list on getting an insight into forecasting

David F. Hendry Why did David love this book?

This is a readable tale of the rise of economic forecasters in the USA during the boom years of the 1920s, and their demise after failing to forecast the `Great Crash of 1929’ and ensuing Great Depression. Roger Babson did forewarn of a crash, but also failed after wrongly repeatedly forecasting an imminent recovery in the early 1930s. It holds many relevant lessons for our turbulent times, emphasizing that the future is always highly uncertain.

By Walter Friedman,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Fortune Tellers as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The period leading up to the Great Depression witnessed the rise of the economic forecasters, pioneers who sought to use the tools of science to predict the future, with the aim of profiting from their forecasts. This book chronicles the lives and careers of the men who defined this first wave of economic fortune tellers, men such as Roger Babson, Irving Fisher, John Moody, C. J. Bullock, and Warren Persons. They competed to sell their distinctive methods of prediction to investors and businesses, and thrived in the boom years that followed World War I. Yet, almost to a man, they…