Winner of the National Book Award and now considered a classic, The House of Morgan is the most ambitious history ever written about an American banking dynasty. Acclaimed by the Wall Street Journal as "brilliantly researched and written", the book tells the rich, panoramic story of four generations of Morgans and the powerful, secretive firms they spawned. It is the definitive account of the rise of the modern financial world. A gripping history of banking and the booms and busts that shaped the world on both sides of the Atlantic, The House of Morgan traces the trajectory of the J. P.Morgan empire from its obscure beginnings in Victorian London to the crash of 1987. Ron Chernow paints a fascinating portrait of the private saga of the Morgans and the rarefied world of the American and British elite in which they moved. Based on extensive interviews and access to the family and business archives, The House of Morgan is an investigative masterpiece, a compelling account of a remarkable institution and the men who ran it, and an essential book for understanding the money and power behind the major historical events of the last 150 years.
©2014 Ron Chernow (P)2014 Blackstone Audio
A genuine masterpiece. Beautifully written and read.
You might think a book about banking would be dry and boring - not this one! I found it gripping..
The Morgan dynasty's monopoly of large scale finance on both sides of the Atlantic spanned several generations. They were bankers to all the major world powers and key industrialists in the first half of the century.
The author does a magnificent job of bringing the characters and all the high dramas to life. It's also a superb chronicle of modern history. Listening to their exploits gave me insights and perspective on history and economics that would be hard to find elsewhere.
If you don't know anything about finance you may struggle with some of the details about financial instruments, but you'll still get a good sense of the big picture.
Regardless of your politics or what you think about bankers, if you're at all interested in history or finance this is definitely one to get.
Ten out of ten!
Robertson Dean takes what could have been a dry financial history and turns it into a fascinating tale. I did not catch a single mispronunciation, even on foreign words like "cognoscenti" and "pince-nez." He is one of the best in the business. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, particularly because it confirms the hair-raising truth about central banking described by G. Edward Griffin in "The Creature from Jekyll Island."
Absolutely! Chernow's book on Rockefeller is one of my all time favorites! Writing a book about an investment bank that is both interesting and compelling throughout is a herculean task. Ron Chernow has done as good a job as can be done for such a book. This book is 34 hours and 36 minutes long so keeping the mind engaged was challenging in the end where the company was so fractured was difficult
It depends on the friend but in general - no. Most would not enjoy this book and would find the details of investment bankers dealings quite tedious. If a friend was interested in understanding the financial history of the US economy and the forces that shaped it - I would recommend this book.
Lamont was an interesting and complex man.
No. I think Chernow has pretty much covered everything.
The book is very monolithic in the begining with the powerful J.P. Morgan - but as the company moved out of the hands of the Morgan's and became more fractured I found it more difficult to follow all these little men.
This is the first Ron Chernow book I have read. Wow, what a storyteller. I presume the reader already has an interest in the overall topic. Mr Chernow has a way of plucking out a telling little detail that sets a scene or gives a sense of a personality marvelously. And he tirelessly delivers this sort of thing across a vast canvas. He did the same with Alexander Hamilton, as I have since heard it. I hope an audio of his book "The Warburgs" is forthcoming.
This is a very long and thorough book. The author and reader both do a great job to bring it alive with unusual personalities and the human story. I enjoyed it immensely. Thanks for the great listen.
My complaint with this work is that it is overreaching, a bit too all encompassing, to the point that it becomes a bit unwieldy. It's strongest moments are the stories of people, the fly on the wall moments, especially early on in the book, Peabody and Pierpont Morgan. As the book progresses, it delves too much into World History, and becomes more of a summary, less of the "scene", as a result. I found Chernow's later work on Hamilton, far more compelling due to its narrower scope. That said, I enjoyed and would recommend this to readers interested in world history with an emphasis on finance.
I disliked the narration by Dean, just a personal take, his voice lacked tonality for me, withdrew rather than added any drama or interest.
I'm by no means and economist, but I enjoyed ever page of this history of modern finance. I will miss this daily read. Wish all history books were made with this sort of care and talent.
While not exactly a quick read, the stories of these legendary icons captivated me. From the old, mysterious banking houses of centuries past, to the (relatively) modern trading floors of the 1980's, Chernow tells the story with masterful literary grace. The book was perhaps a bit dry at times, but that is to be expected given the subject material and the sheer magnitude of the piece.
A highly informative history of the house of Morgan and how it transitioned from family controlled partnership into multiple entities (Morgan Stanley, JP Morgan, ...).
The books early chapters are particularly informative on the area up till the Second World War but the later ones gives only a glimpse of later developments including Nixons abolition of the gold standard, junk bonds and the yuppies of the 1980s.
Still it's a great read which traces the development of modern finance and for that it deserves a four star rating. Five stars if it had included a updated section on the formation of Morgan chase and possibly the 2008 financial crisis and a little more details covering the area after 1945.
"understanding is the first step"
Biographical, in-depth & involving
Can't think of another. This wasn't run of the mill. It has history, personalities, thought and regulatory evolution, case studies and Morgan amidst world events shaping being shaped in turn.
"This is a VERY long read"
If the subject matter was interesting to me
Appropriate, clear, correct
This is a VERY long read. Fortunately the subject matter was fascinating, but it was a lot to get through. I normally prefer unabridged books, but I felt every mile of the marathon read when I finished it.
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