The astonishing story of the Sassoons, one of the nineteenth century's pre-eminent commercial families and 'the Rothschilds of the East'
The Sassoons were one of the great business dynasties of the nineteenth century, as eminent as traders as the Rothschilds were bankers. This book reveals the secrets behind the family's phenomenal success- how a handful of Jewish exiles from Ottoman Baghdad forged a mercantile juggernaut from their new home in colonial Bombay, the vast network of agents, informants and politicians they built, and the way they came to bridge East and West, culturally as well as commercially.
Through the lives these ambitious figures built for themselves, the reader is drawn into a captivating world of politics and power, innovation and intrigue, high society and empire. The Global Merchants is thus at once a portrait of a single family and a panorama of the hundred and thirty years of their prominence- from the Opium Wars to the American Civil War, the establishment of the British Raj to India's independence. Together these give a fresh perspective on one of the defining forces of their age and the present- globalization. The Sassoons were variously its agents, advocates and casualties, and watching them moving through the world, we perceive the making of our own.