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The Guns of August
Barbara W. Tuchman, Robert K. Massie

The House of Nomura: The Rise to Power of the World's Most Powerful Company

The House of Nomura The Rise to Supremacy of the World's Most Powerful Company - Al Alletzhauser A surprisingly good read telling the history of how the Nomura family grew from the latter 1800's into a powerful zaibatsu financial empire, was dismantled after WWII and then rose again to take its place in the global financial world. Written in 1990, when Japan was a giant striding the globe, everyone thought they would rule world commerce. How things have changed since then. But it was still a good read to that point.

The author starts out describing the rise of "trading" in the Osaka rice markets from the 1600's. A fascinating journey through the prewar era brings a few powerful families to the fore. World War II is briefly described but not much time is spent except to tell how the empire is dismantled.

After WWII, the Japanese market goes on pretty much a 45 year bull run. Chaotic, poor, crazy at first, the Japanese slowly get their act together and rise from the ashes. The stories reveal how unique the Japanese are in their approach to building and defending wealth. Corruption and cooperation between the media, government and the banks/brokerage houses/industry abound.

The author does introduce you to many characters and sometimes it is hard to keep track. But still an interesting story and cast of players. One of my "12 oldest books on the shelf" challenge turns out good.