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W. D. Gann’s “The Tunnel Thru the Air; Or, Looking Back from 1940”: Overview and Summary


W. D. Gann, a renowned trader, left an indelible mark on the world of finance with his groundbreaking insights and trading strategies. Among his numerous contributions, one of the most intriguing is his fictional novel, “The Tunnel Thru the Air; Or, Looking Back from 1940.” Published in 1927, this enigmatic book combines elements of finance, astrology, and prophecy to deliver a captivating story that has captivated readers for generations. In this article, we will delve into the overview and summary of Gann’s extraordinary literary work.


“The Tunnel Thru the Air; Or, Looking Back from 1940” is a unique blend of science fiction, financial wisdom, and astrological predictions. Set against the backdrop of World War I and the stock market crash of 1929, the novel follows the life of Robert Gordon, a young market trader and aviation enthusiast. Throughout the story, Gann weaves together financial advice, astrological concepts, and historical events to offer readers a captivating narrative that goes beyond the conventional boundaries of typical novels.


The novel opens in the year 1917, during the height of World War I. Robert Gordon, the protagonist, is a young man working in the brokerage business with a keen interest in aviation. He is also passionate about astrology, which plays a central role in the unfolding events of the story. One day, Robert encounters an old man named Colonel Northwood, a mysterious figure with profound knowledge of financial markets and astrology. The Colonel becomes Robert’s mentor, guiding him on a remarkable journey of self-discovery and financial success.

Throughout the book, Gann uses real historical events, such as the sinking of the Titanic and the stock market crash of 1929, to demonstrate the effectiveness of astrological predictions in financial forecasting. He highlights the cyclical nature of financial markets, illustrating how patterns observed in the past can be used to predict future market movements.

The novel takes an unexpected turn when Colonel Northwood reveals that he is a time traveler from the future, sent back to guide Robert towards his destiny. The Colonel’s ability to accurately predict future events, thanks to his insights into astrology and market patterns, adds a thought-provoking dimension to the story.

The story culminates in the year 1940, where an older Robert looks back on his life, reflecting on the lessons learned and the wisdom gained from his extraordinary journey. The book concludes with the Colonel’s revelation that he must return to his own time, leaving Robert to continue his path armed with the knowledge imparted to him.


  • The book is set in two time periods: 1906-1927 and 1940.
  • The protagonist is Robert Gordon, a gifted stock trader.
  • The book explores the themes of love, loss, war, and financial markets.
  • Gann hinted that the book contains a “valuable secret,” which some readers believe is related to financial astrology.
  • The book has been interpreted in many different ways.
  • The Tunnel Thru the Air is a complex and allegorical novel that offers a glimpse into Gann’s unique worldview.