This is a collection of casual articles about the seemingly forbidding subject of merchant banking and about some of the world's most outstanding and venerable merchant bankers- Hambros, Darings, Warburg, in London; Mattioli in Milan; Abs in Frankfurt; Lehman Brothers in New York; and the Rothschilds in Paris and London. The role of the merchant banker has changed over the generations. Where once the merchant banker (who almost always was a merchant and dealt in goods before he became a banker and dealt in credit) may have been the advisor of kings or acted as the agent for a foreign government; today their services are more specialized. After World War I the role of the merchant banker changed from a money-lender to the modern financier and today ""the granting of acceptance credit to finance the trade of others is a business which they all have in common."" It is interesting to learn for example that Hambros Bank Ltd., who have been bankers for Scandinavia for over 150 years, helped to finance the Pan Am Building. Joseph Wechsberg gives the history of each of these institutions, most of which remain family controlled, and he presents profiles of the men who are or have been their guiding lights, whose very character serves to distinguish each of these mysterious citadels from the other and from lesser breeds in the more understandable area of commercial banking. The most remarkable feature of this truly fascinating book is the amount of knowledge the author brings to bear upon his subject in a most unobtrusive way. The articles are rich in information and a pleasure to read.