Books: Cooke's Crash

JAY COOKE—Henrietta M. Larson— Harvard University Press ($5).

In the early days of the Civil War, when Jay Cooke was a pious, 40-year-old, moderately successful Philadelphia banker, he wrote a frantic appeal to his brother in Columbus, Ohio: "I see Chase is in the Treasy, & now what is to be done—can't you . . . open a Banking house in Washn & be something respectable—or at least can't you inaugurate something whereby we can all safely make some Cash?" Unaware at that point were the Cooke brothers that they were about to become...

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