The “extraordinary” (New York Times Book Review, Editors’ Choice) story of FDR’s fight for the soul of American capitalism—from award-winning journalist Diana B. Henriques, author of The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust
“I thought I was well versed in the New Deal, but it turns out I knew next to nothing. Diana Henriques’s chronicle is meticulous, illuminating, and riveting.”—Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Evil Geniuses and Fantasyland A BLOOMBERG BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR
Taming the Street describes how President Franklin D. Roosevelt battled to regulate Wall Street in the wake of the 1929 stock market crash and the ensuing Great Depression. With deep reporting and vivid storytelling, Diana B. Henriques takes readers back to a time when America’s financial landscape was a jungle ruled by the titans of vast wealth, largely unrestrained by government. Roosevelt ran for office in 1932 vowing to curb that ruthless capitalism and make the world of finance safer for ordinary savers and investors. His deeply personal campaign to tame the Street is one of the great untold dramas in American history.
Success in this political struggle was far from certain for FDR and his New Deal allies, who included the political dynasty builder Joseph P. Kennedy and the future Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas. Wall Street’s old guard, led by New York Stock Exchange president Richard Whitney, fought every new rule to the “last legal ditch.” That clash—between two sharply different visions of financial power and federal responsibility—has shaped how “other people’s money” is managed in the United States to this day.
As inequality once again reaches Jazz Age levels, Henriques brings to life a time when the system worked—an idealistic moment when ordinary Americans knew what had to be done and supported leaders who could do it. A vital history and a riveting true-life thriller, Taming the Street raises an urgent and troubling question: What does capitalism owe to the common good?
About the Author
Diana B. Henriques is the author of five previous books, including the New York Times bestseller The Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust, which was adapted as an HBO film starring Robert De Niro and was cited in the widely watched Netflix documentary series Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street. A staff writer for The New York Times from 1989 to 2012, she is a George Polk Award winner and a Pulitzer Prize finalist, and she has received Harvard’s Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, among other honors. Henriques lives in Hoboken, New Jersey.
“I thought I was well versed in the New Deal, but it turns out I knew next to nothing. Diana Henriques’s chronicle is meticulous, illuminating, and riveting.”—Kurt Andersen, New York Times bestselling author of Evil Geniuses and Fantasyland
“Diana Henriques’s gripping narrative of unbridled capitalism in the Jazz Age and its consequences is beyond timely—it’s urgent.”—James B. Stewart, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and co-author of Unscripted: The Epic Battle for a Media Empire and the Redstone Family Legacy
“This compelling, brilliantly told story of the fierce battle to rein in Wall Street excesses in the FDR era couldn’t be more timely.”—James B. Steele, Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist and co-author of America: What Went Wrong?
“Diana Henriques takes us on the incredible—and rarely explored—journey of what led to the vital Wall Street regulations we take mostly for granted today.”—William D. Cohan, author of the New York Times bestselling Power Failure: The Rise and Fall of an American Icon
“Diana Henriques is one of our most astute writers about the world of finance, and with Taming the Street, she once again tells a thrilling and essential story.”—Bethany McLean, New York Times bestselling co-author of The Smartest Guys in the Room: The Amazing Rise and Scandalous Fall of Enron
“This is historical storytelling at its best! With vivid characters, cinematic settings, and nonstop pacing, Diana Henriques brings to life a political battle from the 1930s that is still deeply relevant almost a century later.”—Joe Berlinger, award-winning documentary filmmaker and director of the Netflix series Madoff: The Monster of Wall Street
“Astute readers have long known that Diana Henriques is a fine writer and a powerful reporter. Here, though, she demonstrates a new skill: superb historian. . . . Simply outstanding.”—Daniel Okrent, New York Times bestselling author of Last Call and The Guarded Gate
“Taming the Street is a most timely work of meticulously researched market history that echoes loudly today.”—Ron Insana, CNBC senior analyst
“Henriques makes the potentially dry subject of SEC regulation fascinating, and the vivid prose evokes the dynamic personalities involved. . . . It’s a skillful account of a pivotal era in America’s economic history.”—Publishers Weekly