The House of Rothschild: The World's Banker 1849-1999: 2: The World's Banker, 1849-1998

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9780140286625: The House of Rothschild: The World's Banker 1849-1999: 2: The World's Banker, 1849-1998
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This second volume of Niall Ferguson's acclaimed, landmark history of the legendary Rothschild banking dynasty concludes his myth-breaking portrait of one of the most powerful and fascinating families of modern times. With all the depth, clarity and drama with which he traced the Rothschild's ascent, Ferguson shows how their power waned as conflicts from Crimea to the Second World War repeatedly threatened the stability of their worldwide empire, and how their failure to establish themselves successfully in the United States would prove fateful. At once a classic family saga and a major work of economic, social and political history, this is the definitive biography of some of the most powerful financiers of recent times.

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For nearly 200 years, the famed Rothschild banking family has weathered political revolutions, world wars and international financial crises. The House of Rothschild chronicles the family's rise and fall, and now its rise again, and describes the reasons for its lasting power. "Part of the secret of long-run success in banking is, of course, not to go bust; the Rothschilds' relative risk aversion is one reason for their financial longevity," writes author Niall Ferguson, who was surprised to discover during his research that the family had a return on capital as low as an average 3.9 percent from 1900-1909.

This book, the second of two volumes, is an authorised history. While members of the family read the manuscript, Ferguson said they did not censor his work. Ferguson details the Rothschilds' creation of the international bond market in the 1800s, through offices that stretched from London to Naples, and their eventual eclipse by American bankers like J. P. Morgan. He also explores the family's relationship to others in the Jewish community, the Rothschilds' climb up the social ranks and their role as adviser to kings and politicians during times of war and peace. The House of Rothschild is primarily an academic work with its footnotes, bibliography and quotations from Rothschild correspondence. The book is perhaps of most interest to fans of European political and economic history. But in the epilogue, where he describes the current resurgence of the House of Rothschild, Ferguson draws lessons about international finance that should interest those in the field today. --Dan Ring, Amazon.com

Review:

"A stupendous achievement, a triumph of historical research and imagination."--Robert Skidelsky, The New York Review of Books

"Niall Ferguson's brilliant and altogether enthralling two-volume family saga proves that academic historians can still tell great stories that the rest of us want to read."--The New York Times Book Review

"Superb ... An impressive ... account of the Rothschilds and their role in history."--Boston Globe

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