Cover: Family Capitalism: Wendels, Haniels, Falcks, and the Continental European Model, from Harvard University PressCover: Family Capitalism in HARDCOVER

Family Capitalism

Wendels, Haniels, Falcks, and the Continental European Model

Add to Cart

Product Details


$43.50 • £34.95 • €39.00

ISBN 9780674021815

Publication Date: 03/31/2006


448 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

23 halftones, 19 line illustrations, 3 maps, 3 tables

Belknap Press


Harold James is the author of several important works of economic history, including studies of the Depression and analyses of the Deutsch Bank during the Nazi period. All of these works involve careful consideration of the interacting cultural, political, and legal factors shaping individual and institutional actors in business and economic life. They are also the fruit of meticulous archival research. In his latest work, Family Capitalism, James brings his scholarly skills to bear upon another important and growing area of inquiry—business families and their role in economic development since the advent of modern capitalism—and, in doing so, confirms his reputation as one of the world’s preeminent historians of finance, banking, and business… James’ purpose is refreshingly different.—Samuel Gregg, Journal of Markets and Morality

Although James raises more questions in this book than he can answer, his three well-crafted case studies make a significant contribution to the ongoing reconsideration of family capitalism and its role in the economic development of modern Europe. I highly recommend them.—Michael S. Smith, Journal of Modern History

In the beginning was the family firm. However, many theories of managerial capitalism have theorized the downfall of the family firm by focusing on its disadvantages. Yet families still own and control a significant proportion of even large, internationally-active corporations. By contrast, in Family Capitalism, Harold James highlights many of the strengths of family firms, particularly during periods of crisis or restructuring. At times, families offer a bedrock of trust, values, and long-term continuity. In Family Capitalism, James provides an excellent and insightful story of three major steel companies—de Wendel, Haniel, and Falck—reaching over two centuries. It contributes to the growing field of comparative history and manages to look at long-term continuities in European business development rather than confining the story to classic chronological breaks. The family firm is likely to maintain its significant presence well into the future.—Jeffrey Fear, Harvard Business School

Family Capitalism is an important contribution to an area of business history that holds particular fascination even for non-specialists, namely, family history. James’s approach enables him to transcend the usual concentration on a single family and its enterprises and reflect on the general characteristics of family capitalism in Europe and its role in what has been, after all, one of the most important industries in European industrialization—steel.—Gerald D. Feldman, University of California, Berkeley

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: What Stars Are Made Of: The Life of Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin, by Donovan Moore, from Harvard University Press

The Most Famous Astronomer You’ve Never Heard Of

Despite her pioneering contributions to science, Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin has not always been recognized as one of the most influential scientists of the twentieth century. In What Stars Are Made Of, Donovan Moore sets out to change this, with the first full biography of this trailblazing scientist. To celebrate the International Day of Women and Girls in Science, we are pleased to highlight five

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library ( extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.