The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance

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Part Two Of Two Parts

THE HOUSE OF MORGAN, a 1990 National Book Award winner, may be the most ambitious history ever written about an American banking dynasty. It is a rich panoramic story of four generations of Morgans, of the firms they built, of their private alliances and public feuds, and of a presence that continues to this day.

Yet THE HOUSE OF MORGAN is more than any of these. It is the story of the colorful J. Pierpont Morgan with his ...

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The House of Morgan: An American Banking Dynasty and the Rise of Modern Finance

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Overview

Part Two Of Two Parts

THE HOUSE OF MORGAN, a 1990 National Book Award winner, may be the most ambitious history ever written about an American banking dynasty. It is a rich panoramic story of four generations of Morgans, of the firms they built, of their private alliances and public feuds, and of a presence that continues to this day.

Yet THE HOUSE OF MORGAN is more than any of these. It is the story of the colorful J. Pierpont Morgan with his colossal collection, numerous mistresses and Corsair, his cruiser-size yacht...of his son, J.P., who financed the Allies in WW I and fought with FDR...and of other famous families, the DuPonts, Astors, Vanderbilts and their ilk.

"A penetrating look at the real power (money) behind the historical events, and the industrial empires that have transformed the world." (Publisher's Source)

The most ambitious history ever written about an American banking dynasty, The House of Morgan traces the astonishing path of the J.P. Morgan empire with the sweep of an epic novel. "Brilliantly researched and written" (The Wall Street Journal), the hardcover was recently named winner of the 1990 National Book Award for Nonfiction. 32 pages of photographs.

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Editorial Reviews

Jeffrey E. Garten
''The House of Morgan'' is much more than a detailed and colorful description of a family and an institution, more than a parting of the curtains on the three secretive Morgan firms....''The House of Morgan'' is no expose, being free of gossip and the kind of backstabbing that usually takes place when writers interview former partners or competitors. But neither is it dry. Mr. Chernow has managed to get close to his characters in their business achievements, and in the anguish of their personal lives too. The story is beautifully balanced. The author is respectful of the enormous power wielded by the Morgan men, but he is also often skeptical of their motives. He extols the accomplishments of certain partners, but he highlights as well the egregious lapses of judgment and the moral flaws of the executives, including the deep strains of anti-Semitism in the Morgan culture....As a portrait of finance, politics and the world of avarice and ambition on Wall Street, the book has the movement and tension of an epic novel. It is, quite simply, a tour de force. -- New York Times
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
J. P. Morgan Sr.'s close relationship with Teddy Roosevelt; his son Jack Morgan's clientele of governments, finance ministers and central banks; and the Morgan realm's split under New Deal legislation are examined in detail in this National Book Award winner. ``Packed with revelations, Chernow's mammoth history demystifies the inner workings of the secretive Morgan banking empire,'' PW said . Photos . Author tour. Mar.
Library Journal
Chernow vividly portrays the influence that the Morgan banks have had on the history of the Western economy since the late 18th century. The epic story of the development of the American industrial experience is inextricably related to the history of the Morgan banks. Though this fascinating story is virtually the same as that told by Kathleen Bunk in Morgan Grenfell 1838-1988 ( LJ 12/89), Chernow adds color and personality with an emphasis on the 20th-century development of the bank. Working with recently discovered Morgan archives, he reveals institutional details long hidden by the protective secrecy of the family. This superb history will be an important book. BOMC, Fortune, and History Book Club featured alternates. --Joseph Barth, U.S. Military Acad. Lib., West Point, N.Y.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780871133380
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 2/28/1990
  • Edition description: 1st ed
  • Pages: 812

Meet the Author

Ron Chernow
Ron Chernow
Ron Chernow's first book, The House of Morgan, won the National Book Award and the Ambassador Award for the year's best study of American culture. His second book, The Warburgs, won the Eccles Prize as the Best Business Book of 1993 and was also selected by the American Library Association as one of that year's best nonfiction books.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
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Sort by: Showing all of 14 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2001

    The Saga of a Many-faceted Powerhouse

    In ¿The House of Morgan¿, Ron Chernow gives a fascinating account of the rise to prominence of the Morgan, one of the world¿s most influential banking dynasties during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The author narrates, with much clarity, the metamorphosis of JP Morgan into a powerhouse during the Baronial Age, the taming and breakdown during the Diplomatic Age, and its comeback with a vengeance during the Casino Age. Furthermore, Chernow excels in giving life to the characters of the House of Morgan, their allies as well as foes, against the economic, political and social backdrop of their time. The reader progressively comes to the understanding of how much the US financial system is indebted to the domestic and overseas tribulations of a single bank. No other US bank has been able to emulate the power and influence that the House of Morgan has exercised under its various legal disguises since its birth in the City. The eventual repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act does not offer the guarantee that JP Morgan Chase & Co. and Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the current incarnations of the House of Morgan, will one day be reunited again. Powerful public and private interests probably have too much to fear and lose from the rise of the Phoenix from its ashes.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    Very Good Book, but Dated

    I found this book to be an excellent history of the American banking and finance industry. By using the House of Morgan as a vehicle for explaining the whole system and its evolution, it both personalized it and also made it eminently more readable by focusing on a smaller number of personalities which drove the change in the industry. I have only two issues with this book. First, I would have appreciated more treatment of J.P. Morgan himself. I realize that this book is not a biography of the man himself, but he is dead within the first quarter to a third of the book and the rest of the book follows the subsequent history of the bank after his death. My second issue with the book has nothing to do with the writing or quality of the book but rather with the date it was written. It covers the subject excellently up to the point it was published in the late 80's or early 90's. However, given the developments of the financial sector in the last 5-10 years, this is a book which is screaming for an update to address J.P. Morgan Chase's role in the financial crisis of 2008.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    Ron Chernow is my favorite author. With all the financial turmo

    Ron Chernow is my favorite author. With all the financial turmoil today he really educates us about the importance of financial leadership.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 21, 2013

    Very interesting history

    Chernow does a very good job of placing the history of the House of Morgan in its historical context. He writes well and explains most in sufficient detail. For those, like me, who have limited economic knowledge the details can be overwhelming even if readable. He places the House generally in American history but concentrates on the history of banking. The strengths of the book are the detailed biographies of the leaders of the House of Morgan and similar details about how the House, or least some parts of it, adapted to the extreme changes in banking over 100 years or so.
    Must read for those who want to see how banks as institutions declined and became just another vehicle for profit. The transformation explains the tenuous nature of a global economy dominated by a search for profit rather than concentrating on the core business. Part of the core business was being a guardian of quality in all types of negotiable instruments and working with clients. With those attributes gone it is sad to see business become truly a dog-eat-dog world all done to maximize profit. Certainly makes a case for government regulation as the banks no longer do that institutionally.

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