Author: Ron Chernow
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Review By: Shana
This is Chernow's first published book and it is remarkable. While this is 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. I would love to see Chernow take his keen storytelling ability and superior research and analysis to the intervening three decades of financial history, because his synthesis of men, finances, and history is riveting while it educates.