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Book review: Baring Brothers and the Birth of Modern Finance

Book review: Baring Brothers and the Birth of Modern Finance


Book review Baring Brothers and the Birth of Modern Finance SAGE Publications, Inc. 201010.1177/1032373210364383 © 2010 The Author(s) The Author(s) Peter E.Austin Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey Paul J.Miranti Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey London: Pickerng & Chatto, 2007, xiv + 265 pp. ISBN-13: 9781851969227 This excellent, provocative volume by Peter Austin is a useful addition to the Pickering and Chatto financial history series that is ably edited by Robert E. Wright. Peter Austin examines the origins of modern finance by focusing primarily on the early experience of the Baring Brothers firm in the USA through the Panic of 1837. Although much of this ground has been worked over in the earlier studies of Ralph Hidy, Phillip Ziegler and John Orbell, Austin differentiates his work by emphasizing a more cognitive-behavioral approach than earlier contributors to understanding financial organization dynamics. Austin concentrates on delineating the mind set of key partners responsible for guiding the firm’s business as a means of better understanding their decision processes as they successfully directed the activity of their business during a major financial crisis. Besides firm archival records, Austin’s cogent analysis is also informed by his effective use of the
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