Volume I The Crime of Amalgamated.
New York, The Ridgway-Thayer Company, 1906
'One of the most influential texts ever written about the workings of the corporate world. Briefly stated, the book is a narrative account of 'the deviltry' and 'unpenalized crimes' of high finance that became standard practice for the Standard Oil Trust at the turn of last century' (Hess Collection).
Lawson was one of his generation's most brilliant and eccentric stockbrokers. At the age of twelve, he left school to work as an office boy with a brokerage firm in Boston, and early in his career he began speculating in stocks. 'He made a considerable "killing" in railroad shares when he was only seventeen but lost his profits a few days later in another deal... He is said to have accumulated a million dollars by the time he was thirty... Despite his lack of formal education, he acquired by his own efforts an excellent command of English and a considerable degree of literary culture' (DAB).
By 1897 he had become connected with the promotion of Amalgamated Copper, the name under which Standard Oil capitalists reorganised the great Anaconda mine and allied properties. On this stock they now made a handsome profit, with Lawson acting as their chief broker. The stock thereafter rapidly declined in price and many holders of it suffered heavy losses. In 1902, when Lawson, with Winfield M. Thompson, published The Lawson History of The America's Cup, the editor of Everybody's Magazine, learning of his grievance, induced him to write the allegedly true story of Amalgamated Copper, which he did under the title of Frenzied Finance — one of the most sensational successes in magazine history. The entire edition of the magazine containing the first instalment was exhausted in three days. To journalistic instinct, Lawson added an easy, slashing style and a knack for colourful phrasing which made his rough-and-tumble attack on the 'money kings' vastly popular.
The enmity aroused by the book cost Lawson dearly, and 'many serious losses were wilfully inflicted upon him by antagonists'. He lost his magnificent estate and died in comparative poverty (DAB).
Autograph-Portrait edition, one of 1000 copies, signed by the author ('Yours very truly Thomas Lawson'), this copy unnumbered; 8vo (22 x 14.5); illustrated with 10 photogravure portraits, japon backed blue boards, paper title-piece to spine, small tear to head margin of title and dedication not affecting text; , xix, , 559, pp.
Larson 403 (for first trade ed.); Zerden, p. 74; Dennistoun 152; Hess Collection.
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