Even before he was shot dead on the stairway of the tony Grand Central Hotel in 1872, financier James “Jubilee Jim” Fisk, Jr., was a notorious New York City figure. From his audacious attempt to corner the gold market in 1869 to his battle for control of the geographically crucial Erie Railroad, Fisk was a flamboyant exemplar of a new financial era marked by volatile fortunes and unprecedented greed and corruption. But it was his scandalously open affair with a showgirl named Josie Mansfield that ultimately led to his demise.
In this riveting short history—the first in his American Portraits series—H. W. Brands traces Fisk’s extraordinary downfall, bringing to life New York’s Gilded Age and some of its legendary players, including Boss William Tweed, Cornelius Vanderbilt, and the railroad tycoon Jay Gould.
Praise for H. W. Brands
“H. W. Brands is a master at finding the essence of an important American life, telling its story grippingly and showing us why it is important to our own generation.”
“Brands will change the way you see history.”
—The Austin American-Statesman
“A wonderfully skilled narrative historian.”
—Los Angeles Times
“Brands is masterly.”
“Few historians can tell a tale better.”
—The Dallas Morning News