Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good

TBF capsule reviews: 'Unprecedented Power'

New in Print: Texas Book Festival Authors

Unprecedented Power: Jesse Jones, Capitalism, and the Common Good

by Steven Fenberg
Texas A&M University Press, 616 pp., $35

There's a reason Franklin Roosevelt is on the cover of Unprecedented Power, even though the title isn't referring to him directly. FDR serves as a recognizable face next to often-skimmed-over Jesse Jones, who was considered by many to be the second most powerful person in Depression-era America. After almost single-handedly building Houston into the metropolis that it is, he was tapped by Presidents Wilson, Hoover, and Roosevelt to use his investment and money-managing skills to keep the country afloat during wartime and internal strife. Fenberg expands on the PBS special he produced a decade ago and offers insight into a man whose economic and political acumen would come in very handy today.

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