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  • Published: 24 February 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241388662
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 448
Categories:

The Global Merchants

The Enterprise and Extravagance of the Sassoon Dynasty




The astonishing story of the Sassoons, one of the nineteenth century's preeminent commercial families and 'the Rothschilds of the East'

The Sassoons were one of the great commercial dynasties of the nineteenth century, as eminent as traders as the Rothschilds were as bankers. In this rich and nuanced portrait of the family, Joseph Sassoon uncovers the secrets behind their phenomenal success: how a handful of Jewish refugees exiled from Ottoman Baghdad forged a mercantile juggernaut trading cotton and opium, the role of their vast network of agents, informants and politicians in extending their reach beyond their new home in India, bridging East and West.

Through the lives these ambitious figures built for themselves in Bombay, London and Shanghai, the reader is drawn into a captivating world of politics, business, society and empire - for their meteoric rise was facilitated by their ties to the British imperial project, and its waning coincided with their own. Drawing for the first time on the Sassoon family archives, written largely in an obscure Judeo-Arabic script indecipherable to previous historians, The Global Merchants is at once an intimate history of a family across three generations and an extraordinary panorama, which reveals their place in the world-historical developments of the 150 years of their prominence: from the American Civil War to the establishment of the British Raj, the Opium Wars to the Japanese occupation of China, and the true beginning of globalization in all its dimensions.

  • Published: 24 February 2022
  • ISBN: 9780241388662
  • Imprint: Penguin eBooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 448
Categories:

Praise for The Global Merchants

A tale reminiscent of Thomas Mann's Buddenbrooks ... Not only is this a powerful human story but it also carries contemporary resonance in a time when great fortunes are again being made

Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times

A very readable, sensitive and original account of a remarkable family, deftly weaving together the history of the business, the history of the family and their place in the wider history of Britain, India and China

David Abulafia, Spectator

Logan Roy might do well to read The Global Merchants for tips ... a tale of commercial derring-do and dissection of the paperwork, the exigencies of calm, but rapid, decision-making that could could lead to boom or bust

Paul French, South Morning China Post

Sassoon's assiduous mining of the archives has produced a family history writ large ... the story of the Sassoons' rise from Ottoman Baghdadis to incalculably wealthy figures of the British Establishment is fascinating

Anne de Courcy, Daily Telegraph

The engrossing story of the meteoric rise and calamitous fall of the Sassoons, set against the backdrop of peak British imperialism ... what a scintillating show it was while it lasted, as this vivid and richly researched book reveals

Justin Marozzi, The Sunday Times

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