Shortfall: Book summary and reviews of Shortfall by Alice Echols

Shortfall

Family Secrets, Financial Collapse, and a Hidden History of American Banking

by Alice Echols

Shortfall by Alice Echols X
Shortfall by Alice Echols

Buy This Book

About this book

Book Summary

This book tells the dramatic story of the rise and shocking fall of Walter Davis, who absconded with millions of dollars.

Shortfall opens with a surprise discovery in an attic - boxes filled with letters and documents hidden for more than seventy years - and launches into a fast-paced story that uncovers the dark secrets in Echols's family - an upside-down version of the building and loan story at the center of Frank Capra's 1946 movie, It's a Wonderful Life.

In a narrative filled with colorful characters and profound insights into the American past, Shortfall is also the essential backstory to more recent financial crises, from the savings and loan debacle of the 1980s and 1990s to the subprime collapse of 2008.

Shortfall chronicles the collapse of the building and loan industry during the Great Depression - a story told in microcosm through the firestorm that erupted in one hard-hit American city during the early 1930s. Over a six-month period in 1932, all four of the building and loan associations in Colorado Springs, Colorado, crashed in an awful domino-like fashion, leaving some of the town's citizens destitute. The largest of these associations was owned by author Alice Echols's grandfather, Walter Davis, who absconded with millions of dollars in a case that riveted the national media.

Read a Sample

Click to the right or left of the sample to turn the page.
(If no book jacket appears in a few seconds, then we don't have an excerpt of this book or your browser is unable to display it)

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Echols's absorbing portrait makes Main Street the rival of Wall Street for callous corruption." - Publishers Weekly

"A lively and informative treatment in which one man's rise and fall opens a window onto a long-overlooked historical landscape in all its finely drawn detail." - Kirkus

The information about Shortfall shown above was first featured in "The BookBrowse Review" - BookBrowse's online-magazine that keeps our members abreast of notable and high-profile books publishing in the coming weeks. In most cases, the reviews are necessarily limited to those that were available to us ahead of publication. If you are the publisher or author of this book and feel that the reviews shown do not properly reflect the range of media opinion now available, please send us a message with the mainstream media reviews that you would like to see added.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Information

More Information

Alice Echols is Professor of History and the Barbra Streisand Chair of Contemporary Gender Studies at the University of Southern California. She has written four books that explore the culture and politics of the "long Sixties," including Scars of Sweet Paradise: The Life and Times of Janis Joplin and Hot Stuff: Disco and the Remaking of American Culture. Shortfall: Family Secrets, Financial Collapse, and a Hidden History of American Banking explores an earlier period of U.S. history, concerning a devastating Depression-era banking scandal and its connection to the cratering of the country's building and loan industry. At the center of her narrative is her maternal grandfather, an ambitious building and loan operator in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Shortfall chronicles the fall-out from the industry's failure, examines how its history came to be forgotten, and the consequences that followed from that cultural forgetting. It stands as a cautionary tale about the seductions and dangers of unfettered capitalism. She lives in Los Angeles.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

More Recommendations

Readers Also Browsed . . .

more history, science & current affairs...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Award Winners

  • Book Jacket: Little Fires Everywhere
    Little Fires Everywhere
    by Celeste Ng
    Voted 2017 Best Fiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    Small towns, big drama. Acclaimed author ...
  • Book Jacket: La Belle Sauvage
    La Belle Sauvage
    by Philip Pullman
    Voted 2017 Best Young Adult Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    I wasn't quite sure what to expect ...
  • Book Jacket: Killers of the Flower Moon
    Killers of the Flower Moon
    by David Grann
    Voted 2017 Best Nonfiction by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    The long, sorrowful list of injustices done ...
  • Book Jacket: The Dry
    The Dry
    by Jane Harper
    Voted 2017 Best Debut Novel by BookBrowse's Subscribers

    After receiving a letter from his childhood...

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
History of Wolves by Emily Fridlund

"Electrifying . . . as beautiful and as icy as the Minnesota woods where it's set."
—NPR

About the book
Join the discussion!

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    Wonder Valley
    by Ivy Pochoda

    A visionary and masterful portrait of contemporary L.A. from the author of Visitation Street.
    Reader Reviews

Win this book!
Win Autumn

Autumn by Ali Smith

One of the New York Times 10 Best Books of the Year, and a Man Booker Prize Finalist

Enter

Word Play

The Big Holiday Wordplay: $400+ in Prizes

Enter Now

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.