Monday, December 30, 2013

Bernard Baruch, Garet Garrett and The Driver

Click here and here for previous posts on Garet Garrett's association with Bernard Baruch (as well as references to Baruch's career as a Wall Street financier and presidential advisor).

Bernard Baruch read and reviewed Garrett's novel, The Driver. Next to the title page of my 1924 edition of Satan's Bushel, E.P. Dutton & Company placed some blurbs about Garrett's prior works, including excerpts from Baruch's endorsement of The Driver:

I feel as did Mark Sullivan, who said: 'Garet Garrett has written one of the great novels of the day.' . . . That is beside the point to one who wants to study man and his works. . . . The thing that impresses me is its fidelity to life.

Click here for my quotation of Time's 1923 review of The Driver.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Bernard Baruch, Garet Garrett and Herbert Hoover

Bernard Baruch was a well known Wall Street financier and presidential advisor for much of the 20th century. I wrote previously here of Bernard Baruch's discussion of Garet Garrett in Baruch's autobiography, Baruch, The Public Years. That discussion frequently included Baruch's interaction with major historic figures. The following passage appears on page 233 of Baruch's book and takes place (probably in 1931) in the aftermath of the 1929 Wall Street collapse:

Shortly after the collapse, Garet Garrett called to say that he wanted to see me urgently. I told him I was taking the train to Albany to see Governor Roosevelt and that he could ride along with me. He came as far as Poughkeepsie, and on the way talked at length about the economic situation. We were old friends, and could talk freely, but I could see that Garet was holding something back.

As the conversation went on, I kept looking at him questioningly. Finally he flushed and said, "All right, I'll tell you the truth. Hoover asked me to get your thoughts." I told him I'd be glad to give the President any help I could; he had only to ask.
p. 233

Baruch was a financial contributor to Woodrow Wilson and, as the passage indicates, an advisor to other presidents of both parties. He praised the passage of the Federal Reserve Act of 1913. (p. 10). While he criticized particular policies of the Federal Reserve Board in the years leading up to the crash, such criticism was limited to particular interest rates and did not challenge the underlying assumptions that allow a central bank to manipulate the national currency. (p. 221). Baruch's criticism on page 221 is useful if placed in the context of a broader analysis of Federal Reserve policy throughout the 1920's and a thorough explanation of business cycle theory. Such analysis is found in Murray Rothbard's America's Great Depression.

Baruch's book seems to be written through the prism of the accepted establishment explanations as to the causes and political implications of the stock market collapse. Individual facts contained therein are useful once the right context is known.

Garrett's affiliation with an obvious "insider" might place him in a bad light, but I will let Garrett's own writings serve as his defense against any suspicion of being sympathetic to the establishment agenda.

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Sunday, December 08, 2013

Bernard Baruch and Garet Garrett

Bernard Baruch was a well known Wall Street financier and presidential advisor during the 20th century. Garet Garrett's name appeared prominently in Baruch's autobiography. Baruch, The Public Years (1960).

Garrett's name first appeared on page 2 (a page after Baruch mentioned his dealings with the likes of "Harriman, Rockefeller, Morgan, and the Guggenheims"), where Baruch discusses the events of 1917, as he contemplated his own move from Wall Street to Washington politics:

Garet Garrett was a frequent visitor on those late afternoons. This small, round, intense dynamo of a man was then with the New York Evening Post. Later he was to continue his distinguished journalistic career with the Tribune and the Saturday Evening Post. Garrett was one of the few men to whom I could unburden myself. Once, after hearing me express my restlessness with Wall Street, he remarked: "I keep telling you, B.M., you don't belong in Wall Street; you should be in Washington." I don't remember my reply; I probably laughed at him. But I thought about his words from time to time, not because they stirred any political ambition but because that phrase, "you don't belong in Wall Street," nourished my discontent.
p. 2
This passage provides more evidence of Garrett's influence and experience at that time. The book itself may provide another clue as to the source of the Wall Street portions of the stories in Cinder Buggy and Driver.

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