Stephanie's Reviews > The Financier

The Financier by Theodore Dreiser
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Nov 29, 2009

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Read in November, 2009

I picked this up on the recommendation of possibly either Howard Zinn or Noam Chomsky. Not directly, of course, but because they wrote about it in something that I read that either of them wrote. Despite a lot of heady and difficult to understand financial talk, its a remarkable story of the greed and sense of privilege exhibited by the very wealthy. Frank Algernon Cowperwood is kind of a selfish ass. He steps on everyone in his way. He lies, cheats and steals when he is already a millionaire. He marries his ideal of a trophy wife, and then when she ages and is no longer suitable in his estimation he pursues an affair with a considerably younger woman, alienating one of his closest business associates in the process. Dreiser provides some good insight into a society controlled by greed, corruption, inside dealing, political malfeasance, and the desire of men for power at whatever cost to the general population. Not a tough read (except for the financial details, some of which are baffling to me... But that could also be because of the antiquated system with which it deals. The story takes place before, during and just after the Civil War), but at times beautifully written and certainly worthwhile. Though the dealings of the wealthy and the stock markets have changed, the nature of men has not and this tale rings true even today.
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