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AMERICAN RASCAL: How Jay Gould Built Wall Street's Biggest Fortune

Author Greg Steinmetz discusses his new book AMERICAN RASCAL: How Jay Gould Built Wall Street's Biggest Fortune.

The names of many of the so called robber barons of the late 19th and early 20th centuries are largely known to us due to the concrete ways they chose to distribute their wealth. Andrew Carnegie’s name lives on through the concert hall and the libraries. Cornelius Vanderbilt through the University. Rockefeller due to the amazing Rockefeller Center.

But then there is Jay Gould. According to Mark Twain, “Jay Gould was the mightiest disaster which has ever befallen this country. The people had desired money before his day, but he taught them to fall down and worship it.”

Gould was at one time one of the most famous people in America. But today Gould is best known, to the extent he is remembered at all, for his role in Black Friday, the day he blew up the gold market and brought the financial system to a near collapse. But while the Gould story is filled with acts of mind boggling corruption and bribery, he also played a major role in building the railroads that were so important to the nation’s economic development.

The Jay Gould story is laid out in engaging detail in Greg Steinmetz’s new book, American Rascal.

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KPCW co-host and producer of Mountain Money
Mountain Money co-host, Local News Hour fill-in host and former board chair.