The first chapters of this book are especially relevant to understanding what led up to the early 1920's boom and bust.
The book's author, Benjamin Anderson, was a highly regarded banker and author of the Chase Economic Bulletin. Since Anderson was a contemporary expert on the banking system, the information presented in the book is certainly world class. The book is not an easy read, though, and requires serious dedication to study the full 570 pages. Our rating would be 100% if it were not for the dedication required to appreciate the contents.
Of interest to the modern reader will be:
Chapter 8: The Crisis 1920-21 (relevance to the current real estate mania of 2000-2005)
Notes: Land Speculation in Iowa. The boom in agricultural land prices in 1919-1920 "soared extravagently". See the footnote on page 67. The economist (Anderson himself) said that "land is only worth what it will produce". He was proven correct when the bust came. "In the disillusionment, Iowa suffered more than any other state."
Chapter 27: Mob Mind in 1928-1929 (relevance to past NASDAQ bubble leading up to 2000 as well as current real estate mania of 2000-2005)
Notes: A short chapter of under two pages, but read it several times and let it sink in. "...the wilder the craze, the higher the type of intellect that succumbs to it." Understand this short chapter and you hopefully will avoid losing your money.
Page 211 (relevance to understanding stock markets vs. real estate markets)
Notes: A few sentences here are really important to understanding why real estate manias end in more pain than stock market manias. Note that there aren't short sellers in a real estate market. A short seller has obligated himself to buy at a later date. In the real estate market there are no future obligated buyers (for specific properties, although some ETF's could now exist that provide the function of shorting real estate). "The end of a real estate boom and crash is, ..., a prolonged period of stagnation..."