- Paperback: 848 pages
- Publisher: Harper Perennial (22 Mar. 2000)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0060955899
- ISBN-13: 978-0060955892
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 3.5 x 20.3 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,652,008 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Morgan: American Financier Paperback – 22 Mar 2000
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As Americans cope with the social and industrial changes wrought by the computer age, we seem ready to view with more sympathy the men who shaped the similarly disruptive economic revolution at the turn of the last century. Less than a year after Titan, Ron Chernow's sweeping biography of capitalist par excellence John D. Rockefeller, comes Jean Strouse's searching analysis of J.P. Morgan (1837-1913), the merchant banker whose financial prowess enabled the great American businesses to grow and thrive. Like Chernow, Strouse takes a nuanced view of a man reviled by his contemporaries as a sinister monopolist. Morgan sought to stabilise the volatile American economy and raise the cash needed to fuel its meteoric expansion. His methods were controversial, particularly his fondness for industrial "combinations" that dampened competition, but Strouse's lucid résumé of the historical backdrop illuminates the thinking behind Morgan's actions. As in her groundbreaking biography of Alice James, the author never settles for received wisdom, instead reading previously neglected documents with a sharp eye to offer a fresh interpretation. She vividly limns Morgan's imperious personality and such extracurricular interests as his superb art collection. But it's Strouse's ability to clearly convey complex financial material that distinguishes this book. Her chapter on the panic of 1907, which Morgan was instrumental in halting, is as exciting as a good thriller and far more instructive. --Wendy Smith, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
She also has a writing style that I have only ever encountered once before, namely Cecil Woodham Smith (a lady). She has perfected the ability to write intense research and scholarship in a way that makes the biography leap into life and it almost reads like a novel such is her huge talent to record history. Only the very best writing teaches you anything. By the time I'd finished this substantial work I was amazed by how much I had retained - and there's a lot in this book!
To encapsulate the life and character of J P Morgan into a mere 800 pages must have been a challenging mission. His tremendous physical effect on people; one man said that a visit from Morgan left him feeling "as if a gale had blown through the house." Physically large with massive shoulders, piercing eyes and a purple nose, because of a chronic skin disease, which worsened over the years into a profusion of pits, nodules, fissures, lobulations, and pedunculation contort of the nose, must have portrayed an awesome and slightly frightening spectre, to those that met him.
Then there was the inner man and his formidable array of talents, single-mindedness, achievements, colossal sphere of worldwide influence, and commercial success. Add to this his vital contribution in directing the banking coalition that stopped The Panic of 1907, his notable collection of books, pictures, clocks and other art objects, his important collection of gems, and one can admire the way that Jean Strouse has gone about 'accounting' for Morgan's 'immense' life, with a sense of balance, a light touch when 'over dramatising would have been tempting, and delivering a biography of great interest and readability.It is a significant contribution to the understanding and appreciation of John Pierpoint Morgan and the commercial and political climates of the era, during which he reigned virtually unchallenged the world of finance - the like of which will, suely not be seen again.
It is perhaps a testament to his founding conservative influence that J P Morgan & Co has survived a number of national and global systemic banking 'meltdowns' and is today one of the world's foremost financial institutions.
A fine book, assembled with consummate artistry.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a monumental work on J P Morgan the much maligned New York banker who history has placed in our minds as one the men who were known as one of the 'Robber Baron's'. Read morePublished on 13 May 2011 by lovemurakami