Shortly after the 1928 stock market collapse, James Campbell, the founder of Youngstown Sheet and Tube (S&T) and Frank Purnell, its president, decided to merge their company with Bethlehem Steel, headed by Eugene Grace and Charles Schwab. Cyrus Eaton and Myron S. Wick, Jr., S&T stockholders, brought legal action to stop the merger. The trial pitted some of the nation’s wealthiest men (and their lawyers) against each other, lasted for months, and set precedents that reach to the present day.
Alan and Kaitlyn Jenkins’ novel, $teel Dreams, tells the story of this trial and the history around it. The authors demonstrate a wide-ranging knowledge of law, courtroom procedures, and interesting characterization. The courtroom scenes might be too heavy for some readers, but I found it a fascinating fleshing out of a bit of American history.