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Creating Global Shipping
Aristotle Onassis, the Vagliano Brothers, and the Business of Shipping, c.1820–1970

Part of Cambridge Studies in the Emergence of Global Enterprise

  • Publication planned for: August 2019
  • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108475396

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About the Authors
  • Shipping has been the international business par excellence in many national economies, one that preceded trends in other, more highly visible sectors of international economic activity. Nevertheless, in both business or economic history, shipping has remained relatively overlooked. That gap is filled by this exploration of the evolution of European shipping through the study of two Greek shipping firms. They provide a prime example of the regional European maritime businesses that evolved to serve Europe's international trade and, eventually, the global economy. By the end of the twentieth century, Greeks owned more ships than any other nationality. The story of the Vagliano brothers traces the transformation of Greek shipping from local shipping and trading to international shipping and ship management, while the case of Aristotle Onassis reveals how international shipping was transformed into a global business.

    • The first serious treatment of Aristotle Onassis and his contribution to contemporary shipping
    • Will appeal to those interested in how successful global businesses are created and sustained
    • Based on significant archival research worldwide, showing how Onassis' successes came on the back of those of the Vagliano brothers
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'Gelina Harlaftis has written an indispensable work on the history of our globalized world. Based on remarkable archival research, including unprecedented access to the Onassis archives, it moves seamlessly from the local to the transnational, from the world of the nineteenth-century Black Sea grain trade to the world we inhabit today. It is a remarkable achievement.' Mark Mazower, Columbia University

    'At last we have a powerfully researched, scholarly study of global shipping's most referential personality in the twentieth century. By coupling the Onassis story to that of the Vaglianos, Gelina Harlaftis, our foremost historian of modern Greek shipping, shows how the rise of Greek shipping magnates to global preeminence paralleled the creation of cross-oceanic networks that tie our world together today.' Michael Miller, University of Miami

    'Gelina Harlaftis has produced a remarkable contribution to understanding of the evolution of the global economy. Ambitious in scope, scholarly in execution and exceptionally fluently argued, her study of the role of the Vagliano and Onassis enterprises in fashioning the global bulk shipping market, which underpins much of today's world system, is outstanding.' Sarah Palmer, University of Greenwich

    'To understand globalization means understanding its fundamental components - technology, institutions, business culture and entrepreneurial forces active in the realm of the international economy. In this seminal book, which summarizes years of accurate research, Gelina Harlaftis provides invaluable evidence for those interested in the complex and articulated universe of global entrepreneurship.' Andrea Colli, Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi

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    Product details

    • Publication planned for: August 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108475396
    • length: 398 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 158 x 21 mm
    • weight: 0.77kg
    • contains: 46 b/w illus. 5 maps 45 tables
    • availability: Not yet published - available from September 2019
  • Table of Contents

    1. The European and Greek shipping firm
    2. The Vagliano shipmasters: creating a business empire, 1820s–1850s
    3. An international trading house from Russia to the United Kingdom, 1850s–1880s
    4. The Russian government vs. Mari Vagliano, 1881–1887
    5. The Vagliano fleet and innovation in ship management
    6. Merchant to shipowner: Onassis from Buenos Aires to London and New York, 1923–1946
    7. The Onassis fleet, 1946–1975
    8. The United States government vs. Aristotle Onassis, 1951–1958
    9. Innovation in global shipping: the Onassis business
    10. Diachronic presence: an epilogue.

  • Author

    Gelina Harlaftis, Ionian University, Corfu
    Gelina Harlaftis is the director of the Institute for Mediterranean Studies of the Foundation of Research and Technology-Hellas (FORTH) in Crete, and is professor of maritime history at the Ionian University, Corfu. She was President of the International Maritime Economic History Αssociation, visiting fellow at All Souls College, Oxford, and an Alfred D. Chandler, Jr, International Visiting Scholar at the Harvard Business School. She has published many books, including Corsairs and Pirates in the Eastern Mediterranean, Fifteenth–Nineteenth Centuries (2016) a collection coedited with Dimitris Dimitropoulos and David J. Starkey.

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