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This is the first serious history of merchant banking, based on the archives of the leading houses and the records of their activities throughout the world. It combines scholarly insight with readability, and offers a totally new assessment of the origins of one of the most dynamic sectors of the City of London money market, of the British economy as a whole and of a major aspect of the growth of international business. Dr Chapman has researched new material from the archives of Rothschilds, Barings, Kleinwort Benson and other leading houses together with a wide range of archives and published work in Europe, America and South Africa to trace the roots of British enterprise in financing international trade, exporting capital, floating companies, arbitrage, and other activities of the merchant banks. While mindful of the subtleties of international financial connections, this book assumes no previous acquaintance with the jargon of banking, economics and sociology. It will therefore prove equally interesting to students of history, business and finance, and offers a 'good read' to anyone interested in the City of London and the international economy.