Manhattan College’s Charles Geisst Publishes Financial History Book

Financial historian Charles Geisst, Ph.D., Ambassador Charles A. Gargano Professor of Economics and Finance at Manhattan College, will publish his 19th book, Beggar Thy Neighbor: A History of Usury and Debt, on March 4. Beggar Thy Neighbor recounts the major debt revolutions of the past to the most recent financial crises.

Geisst is also the author of The New York Times Business Bestseller Wall Street: A History (1997 and 2004), which was rereleased as a new edition in October 2012. His new book, Beggar Thy Neighbor, analyzes how extensive leverage and debt were behind most financial market crashes, starting with the Renaissance to present day.

“The book demonstrates how usury prohibitions, as part of the natural law tradition in Western and Islamic societies, continue to play a key role in banking regulation despite modern advances in finance,” Geisst said.

Henry Kaufman, author of On Money and Markets, A Wall Street Memoir, lauded the work as, “A compelling book not only for history buffs, but also for financial market participants who will find that events today have a long history leading up to our current travails.” In addition, Robert Wright of Augustana College, South Dakota, said the book, “is an engaging, comprehensive history of the concept of interest and usury.”

A renowned business professor at Manhattan College for more than 25 years and a former investment banker, Geisst has been a frequent contributor and commentator for The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg News, NPR, The Washington Post and The Guardian, to name a few. He is also the author of Collateral Damaged: The Marketing of Consumer Debt to America (2009), Deals of the Century: Wall Street, Mergers, and The Making of Modern America (2003), Wheels of Fortune: The History of Speculation From Scandal to Respectability (2002), The Last Partnerships: Inside the Great Wall Street Money Dynasties (2001), and 13 other books.

Geisst received his B.A. from the University of Richmond, M.A. from The New School, and Ph.D. from the London School of Economics.

For more information on the book, visit