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After the Ball: Gilded Age Secrets, Boardroom Betrayals, and by Patricia Beard

By Patricia Beard

After the Ball is that infrequent actual tale that reads like an epic novel, a sweeping chronicle of an period, and an intimate account of the wish and betrayal of a son whose father gave him every thing -- other than the learning to discover his method in territory governed by way of the rapacious.James Hazen Hyde was once twenty-three in 1899 while he inherited the bulk stocks within the billion-dollar Equitable existence insurance Society. simply 5 years later, he fell from grace in a Wall highway scandal that obsessed the country and commanded a hundred and fifteen front-page articles within the ny Times.Hyde used to be clever, cultured, and bold, yet he used to be no fit for an older new release that had mapped the backstreets of excessive finance. Vying to regulate the Equitable's enormous funding pool, the main well-known financiers and industrialists of the period -- between them E. H. Harriman, Henry Clay Frick, and J. P. Morgan -- placed Hyde on forty-eight forums and incorporated him in bargains that shook Wall road. after which, on the top of social good fortune, he made a deadly miscalculation.On the final evening of January 1905, James Hyde held a fabulously flamboyant, eighteenth-century, Versailles-themed dress ball. His enemies used the get together because the hook to hold him on, claiming that he was once too frivolous to run a firm devoted to keeping widows and orphans; and unfold the rumor that he had spent 200 thousand money of Equitable funds on a night's leisure. by the point a central authority research demonstrated that Hyde had paid the debts himself, his acceptance used to be ruined.The sour crusade to wrest keep watch over of the Equitable and its giant funding skill from Hyde at the heels of the ball. because the struggle escalated, clandestine alliances among insurers and Wall road burst to the skin, exposing options which are the stuff of twenty-first-century scandals: self-dealing, insider buying and selling, accounting malpractice, and company investment of personal pleasures.After the Ball tells a story that riveted thousands of american citizens a century in the past. Its topics are as clean this day as they have been in 1905: greed and chicanery, the incorrect love among fathers and sons, and contradictory American attitudes approximately wealth -- all unfolding opposed to a surroundings of beauty, extra, and corrupting glamour.

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As the Equitable grew, so did the pot of money held in reserve to cover claims, a fund that was available for long-term capital investment. Board members who served on the executive and finance committees determined how the money was apportioned, and the more shares a director held, the more votes he controlled. Forty years after A Life: Henry, 1859–1899 27 Henry founded the Equitable, when the reserve amounted to nearly $400 million, it had become an irresistible resource for Wall Street and industry, and the majority shareholder could virtually dictate how the money was invested.

His unreserved confidence . . [which] had no counterpart in the Equitable office. . McIntyre was exactly fitted by temperament, as well as qualifications, to be Mr. Hyde’s trusted man of details and chief aide. He was always ready, always cool and always exact. . The man most useful to him [Henry] was one who knew intuitively what to do, saw what was coming before it arrived . . never got rattled and never shrank from assuming responsibility because an undertaking meant hard work or was on a large scale.

As a young man earning $1,500 a year, he often paid business expenses out of his own pocket, and did not always bother to reimburse himself. Yet, when the Equitable surpassed every other life insurer, he had no more share in its growth than any other stockholder. To balance what seemed like an inequity, an informal “consensus [evolved] that the Hydes should be permitted to use some of the company’s money as their own,” and Henry did; he borrowed at will, repaid casually, mixed personal and corporate affairs, and failed to recognize that, if he died, no one else would have the dexterity to keep the act going.

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