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Archive: Other Books > The House of Morgan - 3 stars

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Elizabeth (Alaska)
"It is not a large bank, as Wall Street banks go," said the New York Times. "A dozen other institutions have much larger resources. ... What really counts is not so much its money as its reputation and brains. ... It is not a mere bank; it is an institution."
I had heard of the House of Morgan and knew it was prestigious, but being on the west coast, and a person without wealth and no hopes of it, I didn't really know much more than that. This book presented itself to me on Goodreads, and I was curious. There are three sections: The Baronial Age, 1838-1913; The Diplomatic Age, 1913-1948; The Casino Age, 1948-1989.

My interest was piqued in the first section when I learned that in 1873 there was a major downturn in the economy, one which would not be outdone until the crash of 1929. 1873 was the year my maternal grandfather was born, and I realized I would be reading the Baronial Age section with a view to the world this part of my family lived in and read about in the newspapers.

I had that same interest for the second section, the age when my parents came of age and began their lives as adults. But I was also interested because the House of Morgan was a leader in financing the Allies in the first World War, and also in the reparations and reconstruction following it.

The third section was filled with names I recognized, many of which I could readily put faces to. As banking became more diverse, even almost chaotic, this was my least favorite part.

I didn't expect this would take me 3 weeks to read, but I never thought for a minute to set it aside and move on to something else. It kept my interest throughout, though I would be deceitful if I said it was fascinating. It seems to me that non-fiction runs from textbook-like to fiction-like. This leans to the textbook side, though perhaps doesn't fall quite that far. This was Chernow's debut. I liked it well enough to read others by him, but I'll put some time between this and the next one.


message 2: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6259 comments Lol, I'm impressed you've even hear of House of Morgan. I majored in economics, and this review is the first I've ever heard of it (not sure whether that says more about me, my education, or what).

I love the idea of reading about history, but often the reality of doing it disappoints me. The ones that are fiction-like definitely pull me in more, but I do like the idea of imagining my ancestors living in the times described. I've never actually thought about it that way . . .


Elizabeth (Alaska) Anita wrote: "Lol, I'm impressed you've even hear of House of Morgan. I majored in economics, and this review is the first I've ever heard of it (not sure whether that says more about me, my education, or what)...."

Oh, I'm sure you've heard of it. J.P. Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley - those guys.


message 4: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6259 comments Ahhhh, those MORGANS - - -I have to admit, I didn't even connect that in my mind, and I'm a customer of Morgan Stanley. Too funny! I turn 50 this year, and honestly, I think my mental prowess may be slipping . . .


Elizabeth (Alaska) Anita wrote: "I turn 50 this year, and honestly, I think my mental prowess may be slipping . . . "

Maybe not yet at 50. I turned 70 last fall, and I *know* I've slowed. But there are books to be read ...


message 6: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6259 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "
Maybe not yet at 50. I turned 70 last fall, and I *know* I've slowed. But there are books to be r..."


Some people slip faster than others - - although I try hard to stay very mentally engaged. Or maybe it is hormonal. I don't know. Not much I can do about it, but I really hope I can read until the end. My grandmother and my husband's mother both stopped reading later in life even though they both loved it. I feel like they couldn't do it anymore for some reason . . .maybe couldn't hold the storyline in their head?


message 7: by Jgrace (new)

Jgrace | 2715 comments I gave this one to my father (at his request) when it was first published. I know he read it from cover to cover and discussed it with his Morgan Stanley broker. It still sits on a shelf in my mother's home. I have a premonition that it will sit on a shelf in my house someday. It might be interesting...but there are so many books.


Elizabeth (Alaska) I increased the size of the typeface on my Kindle reading this. Aging eyes affect the ease of reading, maybe they couldn't get that pleasure anymore. I don't do audio books, but if (when?) I can't read for myself anymore, I'll be very glad to turn to them.


message 9: by Anita (new)

Anita Pomerantz | 6259 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I increased the size of the typeface on my Kindle reading this. Aging eyes affect the ease of reading, maybe they couldn't get that pleasure anymore. I don't do audio books, but if (when?) I can't ..."

I think that's one of the best things with the Kindle - - the ability to adjust to a larger print size and to adjust the lighting as well.

I don't have that issue yet, but my husband does, and I do think it is factor in one's enjoyment.


Elizabeth (Alaska) Jgrace wrote: "I gave this one to my father (at his request) when it was first published. I know he read it from cover to cover and discussed it with his Morgan Stanley broker. It still sits on a shelf in my moth..."

It is, as much as anything, a history of banking in this country, and in some ways the world. But yes, there are so many books. If this presents itself at just the right time, you'll get to it - or not!


message 11: by annapi (new)

annapi | 4865 comments Elizabeth (Alaska) wrote: "I increased the size of the typeface on my Kindle reading this...."

One of the biggest reasons I have switched to Kindle from paper books. I started to need reading glasses at 42, and it was an unexpected shock for me as I've had 2020 all my life (they're still pretty good, except for the presbyopia). The ability to read in the dark with a Kindle is also invaluable. I won't switch to audio unless I'm really desperate, I find it too slow.


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