Abandoned at birth by her neurotic mother, scorned by her misogynist father, Hetty set out as a child to prove her value. Never losing faith in America's potential, she ignored the herd mentality and took advantage of financial panics and crises. When everyone else was selling, she bought railroads, real estate, and government bonds. And when everyone was buying and borrowing, she put her money into cash and earned safe returns on her dollars. Men mocked her and women scoffed at her frugal ways, but she turned her back and piled up her earnings, amassing a fortune that supported businesses, churches, municipalities, and even the city of New York itself.
Green's independence, outspokenness, and disdain for the upper crust earned her a reputation for harshness that endured for decades. Newspapers kept her in the headlines, linking her name with witches and miscreants. Yet those who knew her admired her warmth, wisdom, and wit.
Set during a period of financial crisis strikingly similar to our current one, this engrossing exploration of a fascinating life revives a rarely-mentioned queen of American finance.
Janet Wallach is the author of nine books including Desert Queen: The Extraordinary Life of Gertrude Bell, which has been translated into twelve languages and was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.
Theater: The New York Society Library
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