In the 1920s, Toledo, Ohio, led the nation in manufacturing job growth. In summer 1931, Toledo suffered the worst banking crash of the Great Depression. Soon afterward, a greater percentage of the people in Toledo survived on federal relief than in any other American city. What caused one of America's most dynamic industrial cities to fall so far, so fast? Banksters, Bosses, and Smart Money uncovers the causes of one city’s economic collapse by tracing the interlocking directorships, political machines, and insider deals that made quick fortunes for the well-connected while jeopardizing the savings of tens of thousands of depositors. It documents how the power of the city’s financial elites continued even after the calamitous bank crash of 1931, skewing the liquidation of insolvent banks in their favor and shielding those responsible from criminal prosecution. By examining the social and political roots of the banking crisis in one community, Messer-Kruse demonstrates that the Great Depression cannot be understood only as an external force that crashed over communities, but also as a consequence of local power relations and financial decisions. Toledo’s example suggests that the Great Depression was made locally and spread globally, not the other way around.