The Last of the Imperious Rich by Peter Chapman

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"Chapman weaves a fascinating story framed in the history of the times during which Lehman Brothers helped shape financial markets."

In 1844 Henry Lehman arrived in the United States from Germany and, with his brother Emanuel, established a modest cotton brokering firm that would come to be called Lehman Brothers. In 2008 Dick Fuld, the last CEO of Lehman Brothers, filed for corporate bankruptcy amid one of the worst financial crises in American history. After 164 years one of the largest and most respected investment banks in the world was gone, leaving everyone wondering, "How could this have happened?"

Peter Chapman answers this question by examining the history of Lehman from its humble beginnings to its dramatic exit. He offers a sweeping narrative as well as a clear perspective on exactly what caused Lehman to fail. He also paints an intimate portrait of the people who ran it, including Bobbie Lehman, who in the 1920s led the company into the world of radio, motion pictures, and air travel. Chapman shows that, despite its inglorious end, Lehman not only helped shape the face of American finance, but also American life.


About Peter Chapman

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PETER CHAPMAN has worked as a writer and an editor for the Financial Times since 1995 and covered the financial crisis of 2008. He is a former foreign correspondent for the BBC and The Guardian and holds a master's degree from the London School of Economics. He lives in London.
Published September 2, 2010 by Portfolio. 323 pages
Genres: Business & Economics, History. Non-fiction

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Referring back to Henry’s arrival in the United States, the author writes, “Lehman Brothers died when over 150 years later a once proud institution was caught peddling junk to the world.” Contains numerous interesting tidbits, but lacks cohesion—an unpredictable change of pace from the typical ...

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Seattle PI

The story of Lehman Brothers begins with the arrival in America of a Jewish immigrant from Germany named Henry Lehman.

Apr 26 2011 | Read Full Review of The Last of the Imperious Rich

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