When we talk about property, State, masters, Government, laws, and police, we say only that we don’t want any of them… Luigi Galleani


The day Wall Street exploded : a story of America in its first age of terror  Beverly Gage  Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 2009  Hardcover. 1st ed. and printing. viii, 400 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm. Includes bibliographical references (p. 339-385) and index. Clean, tight and strong binding with clean dust jacket. No highlighting, underlining or marginalia in text. VG/VG

John Pierpont Morgan, Jr., full-length portrait, standing, facing left, holding U.S. flag

John Pierpont Morgan, Jr., full-length portrait, standing, facing left, holding U.S. flag

Just after noon on September 16, 1920, as hundreds of workers poured onto Wall Street for their lunchtime break, a horse-drawn cart packed with dynamite exploded in a spray of metal and fire, turning the busiest corner of the financial center into a war zone. Thirty-nine people died and hundreds more lay wounded, making the Wall Street explosion the worst terrorist attack in U.S. history.

Photo shows William Dudley (Big Bill) Haywood, an American labor movement leader, marching with strikers in Lowell, Massachusetts.

Photo shows William Dudley (Big Bill) Haywood, an American labor movement leader, marching with strikers in Lowell, Massachusetts.

In The Day Wall Street Exploded, Beverly Gage tells the story of that once infamous but now largely forgotten event. Based on thousands of pages of Bureau of Investigation reports, this historical detective saga traces the four-year hunt for the perpetrators, a worldwide effort that spread as far as Italy and the new Soviet nation.

Frontispiece from "Anarchism and other essays" with bust portrait of Emma Goldman, facing front

Frontispiece from “Anarchism and other essays” with bust portrait of Emma Goldman, facing front

The book delves into the lives of victims, suspects, and investigators: world banking power J.P. Morgan, Jr.; labor radical “Big Bill” Haywood; anarchist firebrands Emma Goldman and Luigi Galleani; “America’s Sherlock Holmes,” William J. Burns; even a young J. Edgar Hoover.

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It grapples as well with some of the most controversial events of its day, including the rise of the Bureau of Investigation, the federal campaign against immigrant “terrorists,” the grassroots effort to define and protect civil liberties, and the establishment of anti-communism as the sine qua non of American politics.

William J. Burns at time of the Wall St. bombing.

William J. Burns at time of the Wall St. bombing.

Many Americans saw the destruction of the World Trade Center as the first major terrorist attack on American soil, an act of evil without precedent. The Day Wall Street Exploded reminds us that terror, too, has a history.

J. Edgar Hoover, half-length portrait, facing left, seated at desk, holding pen

J. Edgar Hoover, half-length portrait, facing left, seated at desk, holding pen

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