As regular readers of this column know, I like easy. Easy chairs, easy-to-read books, gadgets that make my life easier. I know Eyewitness to Wall Street: Four Hundred Years of Bulls, Bears, Busts and Booms by David Colbert doesn't sound like an "easy" book, but this historical overview of Wall Street, from the scene in New Amsterdam in the 1600s to the confession of Ivan Boesky, gave me a vast array of Wall Street information in quick chapters and first-hand fashion. I curled up with this book on a recent flight and was transported to news headlines from the 1940s. Key areas of history I've always meant to study but never quite gotten to (the phenom of the Nifty Fifty, innovations at the Chicago Merc, Michael Milken) . . . well . . . thank heavens for David Colbert. He has drawn from diaries, private letters, memoirs and magazines to create a historical montage of Wall Street's blemishes and triumphs. Chapters from major books (Liars' Poker) and news articles about Wall Street pepper the pages. I feel as if someone did all the research I was supposed to do for a college term paper, put it all together and sent it to me, ready to present. Yup, that's what I like, nice and easy.


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