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

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

Ron Chernow

Language: English

Pages: 848

ISBN: 0802144659

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Published to critical acclaim twenty years ago, and now considered a classic, The House of Morgan is the most ambitious history ever written about American finance. It is a rich, panoramic story of four generations of Morgans and the powerful, secretive firms they spawned, ones that would transform the modern financial world. Tracing the trajectory of J. P. Morgan’s empire from its obscure beginnings in Victorian London to the financial crisis of 1987, acclaimed author Ron Chernow paints a fascinating portrait of the family’s private saga and the rarefied world of the American and British elite in which they moved—a world that included Charles Lindbergh, Henry Ford, Franklin Roosevelt, Nancy Astor, and Winston Churchill. A masterpiece of financial history—it was awarded the 1990 National Book Award for Nonfiction and selected by the Modern Library as one of the 100 Best Nonfiction Books of the Twentieth Century—The House of Morgan is 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.

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to make the lead in the projected operation and expected their friends Kuhn, Loeb & Co. to tell them this course was the wise one.8 Kuhn, Loeb was now too small to handle the projected $150-million earthquake loan, which would be the largest long-term foreign loan ever placed in the American market. The firm was also still suffering from the damage done to its standing on account of its supposed German sympathies in the war. When the issue appeared in February 1924, J. P. Morgan and Company

he told Clarence Barron that the Allies shouldn’t strip Germany of hope by confiscating all its earnings through reparations. Yet his personal correspondence reveals the old demonology of the Hun. To Grenfell, he wrote, “I must say that it begins to look to me as though France is really talking to Germany in the only language that the Germans understand.” Of Germany’s state of mind, he added, “it calls for the whip and not for conversations.”31 Meanwhile, German inflation worsened. The

always disliked the Anglophile House of Morgan. On December 9, 1927, the twenty-six Hearst papers published documents that supposedly outlined a Mexican plot to bribe four U.S. senators with over $1 million. These documents were later exposed as forgeries, but in the meantime they damaged relations with Mexico. BEFORE leaving for Mexico, Morrow had invited Charles Lindbergh to his East Sixty-sixth Street apartment. Acting on a suggestion from Walter Lippmann, Morrow proposed that the young

strong for Peace. We are satisfied. Lamont: I believe you, Excellency, when you say that, I know it must be so, but the impression in America is very different. There you are pictured as a man who wants war rather than peace; that impression should be corrected. It is very important that in America your real attitude should be understood.29 As he had promised Hull, Lamont touted free-trade policies, and Mussolini hinted he would like a generous helping of American money in exchange: “America,

Reserve Act. Only after spending a long country weekend with Harry Davison and Paul Warburg did he take the job. Strong wanted to endow the New York Fed with the dignity and prestige of the Bank of England. The House of Morgan directed him to Teddy Grenfell for tutorials on how that bank operated. Through Strong’s influence, the Federal Reserve System would prove far more of a boon than a threat to Morgans. The New York Fed and the bank would share a sense of purpose such that the House of Morgan

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