Genealogy of American Finance

Genealogy of American Finance


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In this unique, well-illustrated book, readers learn how fifty financial corporations came to dominate the U.S. banking system and their impact on the nation's political, social, and economic growth. A story that spans more than two centuries of war, crisis, and opportunity, this account reminds readers that American banking was never a fixed enterprise but has evolved in tandem with the country.

More than 225 years have passed since Alexander Hamilton created one of the nation's first commercial banks. Over time, these institutions have changed hands, names, and locations, reflecting a wave of mergers, acquisitions, and other restructuring efforts that echo changes in American finance. Some names, such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo, will be familiar to readers. The origins of others, including Zions Bancorporation, founded by Brigham Young and owned by the Mormon Church until 1960, are surprising. Exploring why some banks failed and others thrived, this book wonders, in light of the 2008 financial crisis, whether recent consolidations have reached or even exceeded economically rational limits. A key text for navigating the complex terrain of American finance, this volume draws a fascinating family tree for projecting the financial future of a nation.

Editorial Reviews

John Steele Gordon

Genealogy of American Finance is a treasure trove of information on American banking and its history, in an unusual—and unusually useful—format.

Charles R. Geisst

Wright and Sylla have produced an extremely valuable edition on the history of the fifty institutions central to American economic life. I highly recommended it to anyone with an interest in business history.

Busines History Review - Peter Eisenstadt

A lavishly illustrated volume.... Genealogy of American Finance is a remarkable and durable achievement, definitive and magisterial.

EH.Net - Daniel Giedeman

A fascinating compilation of the genealogical histories of the fifty largest financial institutions in the United States.... Clearly written and enjoyable to read. I expect that all readers will learn something new from the book and that the vast majority of readers will learn quite a bit. I recommend it with enthusiasm.

Financial Analysts Journal - Michael A. Martorelli

In addition to tracing the histories of America's 50 largest financial corporations, this richly illustrated coffee-table book spotlights many of the important economic events that influenced the evolutions of those institutions.

Matt Jaremski

Genealogy of American Finance is sure to motivate interesting conversation, whether around a coffee table or in a classroom. Its strength comes from its breadth and level of detail—the scope of this genealogical approach has not been previously undertaken, and the fact that it manages to remain balanced and engaging is impressive.

Library Journal

There may be debate whether corporations are persons, but in the world of American finance, there's certainly a key family of influential banks. This new illustrated guide, drawing on resources from the Museum of American Finance, provides "genealogical" entries, each running several pages, on the "big 50" institutions, from the well-known Wells Fargo to the less-familiar Zions Bancorporation founded by Brigham Young. Various "family trees"—explaining introductory banking terminology as well as each bank's various entity births, deaths, and marriages—make for fascinating infographics. A helpful index is provided. VERDICT A treasure-trove history of America's top banks.—Judy Quinn, formerly with Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780231170260
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Publication date: 03/17/2015
Series: Columbia Business School Publishing
Pages: 336
Product dimensions: 10.30(w) x 12.20(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

Customer Reviews