Summary of When Washington Shut Down Wall Street

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When Washington Shut Down Wall Street book summary


8 Overall

7 Applicability

7 Innovation

8 Style


In Kazuo Ishiguro's novel The Remains of the Day, a blue-blood guest unmercifully grills James Stevens, the head butler at an English estate. The pompous guest is trying to demonstrate that uneducated people should not have the vote. "My good man," he asks, "do you suppose the debt situation regarding America is a significant factor in the present low levels of trade? the abandonment of the gold the root of the matter?" Stevens, aware that the question is meant only to baffle him, replies that he has no idea. Poor Stevens! Anyone without a degree in international finance would have an equally difficult time answering such an abstruse question. That's why this intriguing business history book by William L. Silber is so worthwhile: He brings global finance to life by spotlighting America's 1914 money crisis and by explaining how then-U.S. Treasury Secretary William McAdoo used this portentous episode to establish the nation's financial supremacy. getAbstract suggests you read this illuminating work of economic history to understand the seminal events that established U.S. monetary policy.

In this summary, you will learn

  • Why America faced financial catastrophe in 1914;
  • How William McAdoo, then Secretary of the Treasury, prevented this disaster; and
  • Why his actions enabled the U.S. to replace England as the world's financial capital.

About the Author

William L. Silber is a finance and economics professor at New York University, and a member of the New York Mercantile Exchange. He was a senior economist on the President's Council of Economic Advisors.



At the Financial Brink
In July 1914, a skittish Europe was poised for all-out war. The so-called "Great War," World War I, would have far-reaching implications beyond bloody battles won and lost. It could threaten the financial integrity – and economic stability – of the United...

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