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Publisher's Summary

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

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Chernow's first book as good as his later ones

Any additional comments?

4.5 stars. This is Chernow's first published book and it is remarkable. An epic tracing four generations of the Morgan family (the progenitors of Morgan Stanley, Morgan Guarantee, and other international Morgan iterations), the biography is so much more than just that. Chernow's extensive research and eye for detail not only brings to life the Morgan men, but also places them in their world by explaining the financial and political climate of the times. The story of the Morgans and the institutions they created acts as a window into the financial history of the United States and how this country became a banking capital, wresting that title from London. And greater even than this financial history is the larger history of how financial markets played into general US and world history, including both World Wars. This book, published in 1990, takes the financial and world history up through the time of hostile takeovers, junk bonds, and the transformation of banking to the ruthless (and sometimes seemingly amoral) banking of today. A wonderful book that serves not only as a portrait of a family, but as an introduction to finance and its place as a driver of world events.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

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A brilliant book for history or finance buffs

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!

13 of 14 people found this review helpful

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Now I understand how JPM still dominates the world

...of finance. Well narrated, this book is a masterpiece of business history. Although it is quite long, I was engaged by the narrative throughout. Should be required reading for bank executives and finance students.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Excellent and Informative Book!!!!!

I am a studying to get a bachelors in Finance. This book has given so much information about Finance and International Business. This book and Ron Chernow's other book "Titan" clears up a lot of misinformation and also gave confirmation of pieces of information I have came across regarding finance. A must read!!!!!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Monumental. Loved it.

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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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Superb narration

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."

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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Starts out strong but then fractures

Would you try another book from Ron Chernow and/or Robertson Dean?

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

Would you recommend The House of Morgan to your friends? Why or why not?

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.

Which character – as performed by Robertson Dean – was your favorite?

Lamont was an interesting and complex man.

Do you think The House of Morgan needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No. I think Chernow has pretty much covered everything.

Any additional comments?

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.

12 of 14 people found this review helpful

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behind the thick curtain of old, old WASP money


? did you spend much of your life in and around NYC finance
? do you know why people speak the name "Morgan" with reverence
? would you like a look into this remote, impenetrable world and family

Ron Chernow has written a detailed, kind and insightful guide to the Morgans
their influence on Wall Street, over the last 150 years, simply can't be overstated
their finger prints are on every USA financial upheaval since before the Civil War

as you'd expect, after three generations, the Morgan influence is now waining
today's America is a more diverse and democratic and transparent society
Chernow's book, however, shows us how Wall Street got to where it is now






3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An Extremely Thorough Book

What made the experience of listening to The House of Morgan the most enjoyable?

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.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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good start but second half dragged

struggled to finish. this may be my fault due to my lack of interest in the realm of finance and banking, but once it moved beyond the death of Jack, it devolved into a blur of marginal personalities and financial jargon that Chernow could not bring to life the way he was able to in the first half.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-10-17

monotonous read

all round good narrative but very very monotonous voice. the narrator did the best he could...

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • AVg
  • 07-24-15

understanding is the first step

If you could sum up The House of Morgan in three words, what would they be?

Biographical, in-depth & involving

What other book might you compare The House of Morgan to, and why?

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.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • K. Gholam
  • 04-10-14

This is a VERY long read

Would you try another book written by Ron Chernow or narrated by Robertson Dean?

If the subject matter was interesting to me

Who was your favorite character and why?

n/a

What three words best describe Robertson Dean’s performance?

Appropriate, clear, correct

If this book were a film would you go see it?

No

Any additional comments?

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.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • B. van Caspel
  • 03-27-17

Solid history of a institution

This was the exact type of book I hoped for, something that explained in detail the history for the Morgan banks with many sub stories that highlight everyday life, politics and business in each era.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful