Charles Geisst – The Last Partnerships. Inside the Great Wall Street Dynasties
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Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: McGraw-Hill (December 1, 2002)
Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.8 x 9 inches
Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,826,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Despite the subtitle, this book doesn’t throw wide the back-room doors of major investment banking and brokerage firms like Merrill Lynch and Salomon Brothers. Instead, it provides a general history of Wall Street, organized in chronological chapters, each featuring two famous houses. The first chapter covers 1812 to 1873, focusing on Clark Dodge and Jay Cooke. The last chapter runs from the 1930s to the present, featuring Lazard Freres and Goldman Sachs. Most of the material can be found in the author’s previous works, 100 Years of Wall Street and Wall Street: A History. This reorganization might have yielded new insights had it shown how certain firms helped shape their time and place, and vice versa, or perhaps if it had focussed on the passing of the torch from era to era. As it stands, Ron Chernow’s The Death of the Banker and Martin Mayer’s The Bankers and even Geisst’s previous works are more compelling and better written. Still, Geisst has more understanding of finance than most popular financial historians; despite the drawbacks of this Wall Street history, it represents the various firms fairly and aptly.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
–This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
Geisst (Wall Street: A History; Monopolies in America: Empire Builders and their Enemies from Jay Gould to Bill Gates) here provides a history of U.S. investment banking over the past 200 years. As the title indicates, investment banking has shifted from partnership activity to corporate ownership. Geisst creditably describes the forces at work in the creation of capital, providing some sociological context through ethnicity and gender issues. Geisst accounts for a number of factors that have caused investment banking to undergo a sea change: increasingly high dollar amounts, the ability of inexperienced traders to bankrupt firms, and the demise of relationship banking. He shows how cutthroat competition changed investment banking from a business based on relationships to one based on the deal itself. This book’s appeal will be limited to those interested in financial history. Steven Silkunas, Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority, Philadelphia
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