“This is historical storytelling at its best! With vivid characters, cinematic settings, and nonstop pacing, Diana Henriques brings to life a real-life 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: Monster of Wall Street
“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.”
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?