Emile (1800-75) and Isaac Pereire (1806-80) were pivotal and sensational figures, their lives and careers a lens through which to re-examine the history of France in the nineteenth century. Among the first generation of Jews emancipated by the French Revolution, they became significant Saint-Simonians, contributing to its philosophy of financial and economic reform. They were the first to implement the new rail technology in France and to launch the first investment bank of any size in Europe, the Credit Mobilier. The Pereires ultimately came to stand behind banks and railways throughout Europe and in the Ottoman Empire. They were thus major players in France's and Europe's industrialisation and the modernisation of its banking system. This book is equally a social and cultural history of the Jews in France, addressing the means through which the Pereires managed their business empire and the contribution of family life to its success. It is their first full-scale biography in English.
Helen M. Davies is Fellow of the School of Historical and Philosophical Studies at the University of Melbourne
Introduction 1. Bordeaux: a Sephardic childhood 2. The new society 3. The new entrepreneurs 4. The adventure of rail 5. Capitalism and the State 6. The family business 7. Private lives of public men 8. Boom and bust 9. Epilogue 10. Conclusion Index