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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

The country’s financial hub has a long history of lying, cheating, and stealing Read >>
Banker J. P. Morgan rescued the dollar and bailed out the nation Read >>
How a debt-ridden banana republic became the greatest economic engine the world has ever known Read >>
. . . was a lot bigger than yours. Here’s why you should care. Read >>
It was a disaster from the beginning Read >>
A Fortune in Other People’s Back Yards Read >>
The New York Stock Exchange plans to modernize by merging with a new competitor—just as it did in 1869 Read >>
We gave the baby boomers plenty of room to play in Read >>
The problem is as old as the industry itself Read >>
Alexander Hamilton conceived an America that encouraged huge successes like his own Read >>
Cyrus McCormick and the problem with agriculture Read >>
Looking At The Big Picture Read >>
After one Ford changed America, another accomplished something almost as amazing Read >>
WHAT DIGITAL CAMERA MAKERS CAN LEARN FROM GEORGE EASTMAN Read >>
A Long-ago Calamity May Shed Light on a Current Impasse Read >>
WHY THE BOSS MUST HAVE A BOSS BY JOHN STEELE GORDON Read >>
James Gordon Bennett was the forefather of the people inventing Internet news Read >>
And how history shows it’s actually good for us Read >>
WALT DISNEY GAVE US DONALD DUCK, BUT ANOTHER MAN GAVE HIM HIS CHARACTER—AND HIS FAMILY Read >>
OLDSMOBILE, GONE AFTER 107 YEARS Read >>
A century and a half of the U.S. economy, from the railroad revolution to the information revolution. Read >>
A CENTURY AND A HALF E U.S. ECONOMY, FRO RAILROAD REVOLUTION Read >>
WE ALL LIVE BY WHAT HAPPENED ON NOVEMBER 18, 1883 Read >>
THE CRACKPOT IDEA THAT LED TO SOCIAL SECURITY Read >>
It took until late last year to undo the damage Congress wreaked on the banking system in the 1930s 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 >>
Pork is not a partisan issue and not a new one. The term “pork barrel” is over a century old in its political sense, an allusion to the regular handing out of joints of salted pork, stored in barrels, by plantation owners to slave families before the Civil War. Because it is believed with nearly… Read more >>
I did not mean to imply that Alger Hiss passed atomic secrets to the Russians. I used the atomic secrets image only as an example of a serious disclosure of classified information, as opposed to the trivial “outing” of someone who has had a desk job at Langley for the last several years and is such… Read more >>
The Nobel Prize for Literature has just been awarded to the British playwright and screenwriter Harold Pinter. The good news, I suppose, is that at least I knew who he was when I learned about his prize. That is a good deal more than can be said for Elfriede Jelinek, John Maxwell Coetzee, and Imre… Read more >>
Ellen Feldman writes that post-election fatigue is an unlikely reason for President Bush’s recent troubles, given “the amount of time he spent vacationing at his ranch before Katrina.” I’ve taken a few cheap shots myself over the years, so I don’t much mind this rather gentle one, especially as I’m… Read more >>
The Bush Administration right now is going through a major bad patch. Hurricane Katrina, the rising cost of oil, the Miers nomination, and the undropped shoe of the Valerie Plame investigation are but some of its troubles. As a result, Bush’s approval ratings are at the lowest point of his… Read more >>
Fred Schwarz notes below that New York State has little that unifies it into a politically cohesive whole and that that is reflected in the state’s flag. Let me leave New York’s tangled politics and its even more tangled political history to another time and write a little about state flags. They… Read more >>
Joshua Zeitz blogged on Wednesday that some liberal pundits, such as the Washington Post’s E. J. Dionne, are happily opining that the present troubles of the Bush Administration are turning the President into a lame duck if not a dead duck. Perhaps so, perhaps not. A week can be an eternity in… Read more >>
The 2005 Forbes 400 list is out, and once again, alas, I failed to make the cut. And the cut this year is an altogether impressive $900 million. Only twenty-three on the list are worth less than a billion. A mere ten years ago, $340 million got you a spot among the American financial seraphim. In… Read more >>
Ellen Feldman, in her posting of September 19, wrote about the Bonus March in the early 1930s and Eleanor Roosevelt’s visit to demonstrators in early 1933. Leaving aside her highly dubious suggestion that a President of the United States should walk through the streets of a blacked-out city where… Read more >>