Andrew Meier on the Morganthau Dynasty

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

6:30 pm

1201: Elebash Recital Hall

Open to the Public

In conversation with Kai Bird

Headshots of Andrew Meier and Kai Bird with the book cover to "Morgenthau"
Admission Price



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An “epic and intimate” (David M. Kennedy) portrait of four generations of the Morgenthau family, a dynasty of power brokers and public officials with an outsize—and previously unmapped—influence extending from daily life in New York City to the shaping of the American Century

After coming to America from Germany in 1866, the Morgenthaus made history in international diplomacy, in domestic politics, and in America’s criminal justice system. With unprecedented, exclusive access to family archives, award-winning journalist and biographer Andrew Meier vividly chronicles how the Morgenthaus amassed a fortune in Manhattan real estate, advised presidents, advanced the New Deal, exposed the Armenian genocide, rescued victims of the Holocaust, waged war in the Mediterranean and Pacific, and, from a foundation of private wealth, built a dynasty of public service. In the words of former mayor Ed Koch, they were “the closest we’ve got to royalty in New York City.”

Former Leon Levy Fellow Andrew Meier is the author of Black Earth: A Journey Through Russia After the Fall, and The Lost Spy: An American in Stalin’s Secret Service, both published by Norton and named books of the year by The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, and NPR. He has reported on Russia, Central Asia, and the Caucasus for two decades, including as Moscow correspondent for Time, and is a contributor to The New York Times Magazine. Meier has received fellowships from the NEH, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and the Alicia Patterson Foundation, and he was the Mrs. Giles Whiting Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center at the New York Public Library. 

Kai Bird co-authored with Martin J. Sherwin the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer (Knopf, 2005). A major motion picture based on this biography is scheduled to appear in 2023. He has also written biographies of John J. McCloy and McGeorge Bundy—and a memoir, Crossing Mandelbaum Gate: Coming of Age Between the Arabs and Israelis (Scribner, 2010). The Good Spy: The Life and Death of Robert Ames appeared in 2014. His biography of President Jimmy Carter, The Outlier: the Unfinished Presidency of Jimmy Carter, was published in June of 2021 by Crown Books.