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John Steele Gordon

John Steele Gordon has been a frequent contributor to American Heritage and the Wall Street Journal. He is the author most recently of An Empire of Wealth: The Epic History of American Economic Power (HarperCollins 2004). Gordon's writing concentrates on business and financial history, and his 1999 book, The Great Game: The Emergence of Wall Street as a World Power, 1653-2000, was adapted into a two-hour CNBC special. Gordon's writing has also been published in the Washington Post's Book World, Outlook, Forbes, and The New York Times.

Articles by this Contributor

How a tireless impresario parlayed a cloud of smoke into several fortunes Read >>
Will the current bull market die spectacularly, à la 1929, or—as in 1974—strangle in weird silence? Read >>
For sheer drama, William Durant’s career eclipses even Henry Ford’s Read >>
The man who showed Warren Buffett—and thousands of others—how to get rich Read >>
One hundred and eight years of managing a problem that might have been solved at the outset with a single law Read >>
HOW A NATION BORN OUT OF A TAX REVOLT has—and especially hasn’t—solved the problems of taxing its citizens Read >>
Sylvester Graham’s preposterous theories about food and health inadvertently created the American diet-fad industry Read >>
For a little while Stephen Girard held the future of the United States in his hands. Destiny had chosen the right man. Read >>
A CENTURY AGO you’d eat steak and lobster when you couldn’t afford chicken. Today it can cost less than the potatoes you serve with. What happened in the years between was an extraordinary marriage of technology and the market. Read >>
How Peter Cooper managed to make himself deeply rich and deeply beloved at the same time Read >>
George Selden never built a car himself, but he did manage to secure a patent on every auto manufactured Read >>
What you owe your car (ending the tyranny of the horse is only the beginning of it) Read >>
At the age of eleven Roger Tory Peterson had an experience that produced a major hobby and a new industry Read >>
How one of our most enlightened business leaders became the symbol of corporate ruthlessness Read >>
Timing is everything in music—and in business. Jerome Kern demonstrated this twin truth in the most impressive way. Read >>
Not only are the good ones surpassingly rare, two of the best are outright fakes Read >>
Why Americans should mourn the death of a British financial institution Read >>
When private enterprise served the public good on the high seas—and made its promoters a bundle Read >>
It meant that the government should run the telephone system. And there’s a reason the word is forgotten. Read >>
Something he noticed in its showrooms kept the car from going the way of the Duesenberg and the Marmon Read >>
And how it grew, and grew, and grew… Read >>
How two bold sisters set up a business in the very citadel of masculine prerogative: 1870s Wall Street Read >>
When the government manipulated and misused the robber barons Read >>
Why can our government use accounting methods that would put any publicly held company out of business? Read >>
The great, heroic American labor movement—how it became obsolete Read >>
It went to Russia along with capitalism, but its greatest players worked over here Read >>
Running the long-lived Louisiana Lottery was as certain a moneymaker as owning the mint Read >>
A New York parish grew so profitable over the centuries it pays taxes voluntarily Read >>
Mary Mallon could do one thing very well, and all she wanted was to be left to it Read >>
Sewell Avery was a careful student of business history—but he learned the wrong lesson Read >>

"Web only stories" by this contributor

Thirty years ago this week, rumors began circulating about the supposed extramarital affairs of Sen. Gary Hart, the leading candidate for the 1988 Democratic nomination for President. In response, Hart challenged the media. He told The New York Times in an interview published on May 3, 1987, that… Read more >>