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This astute if not entirely cohesive debut account from investigative journalist and former banker Cohan chronicles the long metamorphosis of Lazard Frères. Converted from a private partnership to a diversified, publicly traded company in 2005, it was the last great American investment bank to do so. That story intertwines with the career of Felix Rohatyn, Lazard's most famous and influential banker. Readers expecting a comprehensive financial history in the style of Ron Chernow (The House of Morgan) will find the firm's history from its founding as a New Orleans dry goods retailer in 1848 to the early 1960s covered in only two of the 21 chapters. Cohan discusses the following quarter century in more detail, but concentrates almost exclusively on Rohatyn and draws on the general business press. The chapters on the last 20 years contain fascinating and novel information, and rely extensively on the author's personal recollections (he worked at Lazard for six years) and interviews with associates, many of whom remain undisclosed. The result is three incompletely integrated works: a competent history of Lazard, a well-written biography of Rohatyn and an exciting insider's account of Wall Street infighting. (Apr.)
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“Cohan’s portrayal of the firm's dominant partners—whose gargantuan appetites and mercurial habits provide the unifying force behind the book’s operatic melodramas— makes this an epic . . . In fact, The Last Tycoons bears a striking resemblance to F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Last Tycoon.”
—New York Times Book Review
“Breezy and highly readable . . . For those of us who enjoy high-level gossip (most people) and an inside look at the machinations, triumphs, failures, and foibles of some of Wall Street’s and America’s most exalted personages, Cohan’s book is entertaining and seductively engrossing.”
“Cohan's thoroughness—he interviewed over 100 current and former bankers and assorted bigwigs—unearths a trove of colourful titbits, many quite racy . . . Illuminating are Mr. Cohan’s descriptions of the scheming, politicking, and general dysfunction that was Lazard.”
“Cohan not only knows where the bodies are buried but got a guided tour of the graveyard.”
“[The Last Tycoons] has sent a jolt through Lazard and the rest of Wall Street.”
—Wall Street Journal
From the Trade Paperback edition.
One of the best books I have ever read in my life. It is long and some times too detailed, but you can learn a lot about the back stage of the financial markets and about people... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Joao Camargo
It takes some time to get used to the writing style. The funny thing is that once you got his pace the story keeps accelerating and getting more interesting and quirky, and you... Read morePublished on January 30, 2013 by Jeyner Arango
The Last Tycoons provides an intense, intimate view of a very private and lesser known investment bank & advisory services firm. Read morePublished on January 2, 2011 by D. Barnes
Despite the title, I seriously doubt, however, that Lazard represents the last of the tycoons. This history of an investment banking house is fascinating up through the Nixon era. Read morePublished on December 21, 2010 by R. Schwenk
I've been in the securites industry for over 17 years and I've been a big proponent to reading Wall St history. Read morePublished on November 24, 2010 by Robert Kirk
A lot of needless details...
I didn't learn anything from the book, it's like soap opera...
Stopped reading it