All the Presidents' Bankers: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power

Front Cover
PublicAffairs, Apr 8, 2014 - Political Science - 544 pages
1 Review
Who rules America?

All the Presidents' Bankers is a groundbreaking narrative of how an elite group of men transformed the American economy and government, dictated foreign and domestic policy, and shaped world history.

Culled from original presidential archival documents, All the Presidents' Bankers delivers an explosive account of the hundred-year interdependence between the White House and Wall Street that transcends a simple analysis of money driving politics—or greed driving bankers.

Prins ushers us into the intimate world of exclusive clubs, vacation spots, and Ivy League universities that binds presidents and financiers. She unravels the multi-generational blood, intermarriage, and protégé relationships that have confined national influence to a privileged cluster of people. These families and individuals recycle their power through elected office and private channels in Washington, DC.

All the Presidents' Bankers sheds new light on pivotal historic events—such as why, after the Panic of 1907, America's dominant bankers convened to fashion the Federal Reserve System; how J. P. Morgan's ambitions motivated President Wilson during World War I; how Chase and National City Bank chairmen worked secretly with President Roosevelt to rescue capitalism during the Great Depression while J.P. Morgan Jr. invited Roosevelt's son yachting; and how American financiers collaborated with President Truman to construct the World Bank and IMF after World War II.

Prins divulges how, through the Cold War and Vietnam era, presidents and bankers pushed America's superpower status and expansion abroad, while promoting broadly democratic values and social welfare at home. But from the 1970s, Wall Street's rush to secure Middle East oil profits altered the nature of political-financial alliances. Bankers' profit motive trumped heritage and allegiance to public service, while presidents lost control over the economy—as was dramatically evident in the financial crisis of 2008.

This unprecedented history of American power illuminates how the same financiers retained their authoritative position through history, swaying presidents regardless of party affiliation. All the Presidents' Bankers explores the alarming global repercussions of a system lacking barriers between public office and private power. Prins leaves us with an ominous choice: either we break the alliances of the power elite, or they will break us.

What people are saying - Write a review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - azrowan - LibraryThing

If you think the financial crisis of 2008 is history and we've learned our lesson, think again. Nomi Prins takes us through the 20th century and into the 21st century looking closely at how the ... Read full review

ALL THE PRESIDENTS' BANKERS: The Hidden Alliances that Drive American Power

User Review  - Kirkus

A revealing look at the often symbiotic, sometimes-adversarial relationship between the White House and Wall Street.When it comes to the tactics of modern bankers, former Wall Street insider-turned ... Read full review


Cast of Main Characters
When the President Needed the Bankers
The Early 1910s PostPanic Creature and Party Posturing
The Mid1910s Bankers Go to
The Late 1910s Peace Treaties and Domestic Politics
The 1920s Political Isolationism Financial Internationalism
1929 The Room at 23 Wall Crash and BigSix Take
The Early 1960s GoGo Youth Murders and Global Finance
The Mid to Late 1960s Progressive Policies and Bankers Economy
The Early to Mid1970s Corruption Gold Oil and Bankruptcies
The Late 1970s Inflation Hostages and Bankers
The Early to Mid1980s FreeMarket Rules Bankers Compete
The Late 1980s Third World Staggers SLs Implode
The Early to Mid1990s Killer Instinct Bank Wars and the Rise
The Late 1990s Currency Crises and GlassSteagall Demise

The Early 1930s Tenuous Times TaxEvading Titans
The Mid to Late 1930s Policing Wall Street World War II
The Early to Mid1940s World War II Bankers and War Bucks
The Late 1940s World Reconstruction and Private Bankers
The 1950s Eisenhowers Buds Cold War Hot Money
The 2000s Multiple Crises the New Big Six and Global
Glossary of Financial Terms

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2014)

Nomi Prins is a journalist, speaker, respected TV and radio commentator, and former Wall Street executive. Author of five other books, including Other People's Money and It Takes a Pillage, her writing has been featured in the New York Times, Fortune, Mother Jones, the Guardian, the Nation, and other publications. She is a senior fellow at Demos. Follow her on Twitter @NomiPrins

Bibliographic information