The Day Wall Street Exploded

by Beverly Gage

WallStreetExplodedJust after noon on September 16, 1920, as hundreds of workers poured onto Wall Street for lunch, a horse-drawn cart packed with dynamite exploded.  The explosion turned the busiest corner of the financial district into something that looked like a war zone.  Thirty nine people were killed and hundreds were wounded, making the Wall Street explosion the worst terrorist attack to that point in U.S. history.

In her book The Day Wall Street Exploded, Beverly Gage tells the story of the once infamous but not lost to time event.  Based on thousands of pages of Bureau of Investigation reports, this historical detective saga traces the four-year hunt for the perpetrators.  The search was a worldwide effort that spread as far as Italy and the new Soviet Union.  She takes readers back into the decades-long but little known history of domestic terrorism at the turn of the last century.  She delves into the lives of the victims, suspects and investigators.  Some of these include the world banking powerhouse J.P. Morgan, Jr., and the young J. Edgar Hoover.

Many saw the destruction of the World Trade Center as the first major terrorist attack to take place on American soil, an act that had no precedent.  The Day Wall Street Exploded reminds us that terror has a long history.

WallStreetExplosion2According to Publishers Weekly, "Writer and historian Gage presents a gripping account of class war and violence during the turn of the 20th Century.  Weaving the story of the explosion and botched investigation with a masterful account of labor unrest of preceding decades, this is a highly revelant, hard to put down history of terror and civil liberties in America."

Beverly Gage teaches U.S. history at Yale University.