Jubilee Jim and the Wizard

Donald Porter, Author Dutton Books $19.95 (568p) ISBN 978-0-525-24841-5
Although bogging down occasionally in sappy romance and a morass of financial intrigues, this entertaining, loosely historical novel vibrantly evokes a bygone New York City as it traces the clash between thundering railroad titan Cornelius Vanderbilt and his archrivals Jay Gould and Jim Fisk. Furtive, quiet Gould, rogue wizard of Wall Street, emerges almost as a tragic figure, blinded by his need to mold himself into greatness, haunted by the deaths of his mother and sister, troubled by a mentally deranged son who harbors patricidal fantasies. Gould's unlikely partner in the Erie railway, the clownish, loud Fisk, has an extramarital affair with a struggling actress that parallels Gould's dalliance with divorcee Annabelle Stokes, whose brother-in-law, President Ulysses Grant, becomes a tool in Gould's gold speculation, fueling the Crash of 1869. Unforgettable scenes--Gould and Fisk rowing across the frigid Hudson to New Jersey to evade Vanderbilt's legalistic tentacles; the duo nearly hanged by an angry Wall Street mob--drive home this cautionary tale for today's high-stakes players. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
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