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City of London: The History [Paperback]

David Kynaston
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
RRP: 16.99
Price: 11.89 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

1 Nov 2012

David Kynaston's ground-breaking history of the City of London, published in four volumes between 1994 and 2001, is a modern classic. Skilfully edited into a single volume by David Milner, it tells a story as dramatic as any novel, while explaining the mysteries of the financial world in a way that we can all understand.

This is a story of booms, busts and bankruptcies, dress codes, eating habits, pay, humour, changing architecture and the unique culture of the Square Mile which brings us up to the modern age.

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City of London: The History + Modernity Britain: Opening the Box, 1957-1959 + Family Britain, 1951-1957 (Tales of a New Jerusalem)
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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (1 Nov 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099554828
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099554820
  • Product Dimensions: 23.2 x 15.4 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 343,339 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

David Kynaston was born in Aldershot in 1951. He has been a professional historian since 1973 and has written eighteen books, including The City of London (1994-2001), a widely acclaimed four-volume history, and W.G.'s Birthday Party, an account of the Gentleman vs. the Players at Lord's in July 1898. He is the author of Austerity Britain, 1945-51, the first title in a series of books covering the history of post-war Britain (1945-1979) under the collective title 'Tales of a New Jerusalem'. He is currently a visiting professor at Kingston University.

(Photo credit: Michael Burns)

Product Description


"Wonderful... This is real history; living history" (Sunday Times)

"Economic history at its most glittering" (The Times)

"A work of breathtaking scope and accomplishment" (Independent)

"Magisterial" (Observer)

"Everyone should read David Kynaston's riveting history of the City: a subject too important to be left to the bankers" (John Lanchester)

Book Description

'No one knows more secrets about the City of London than David Kynaston ... about what goes on behind the copper-plate facades of old City firms, or in the boardrooms of the gleaming glasshouses. Kynaston is the historian of the City' - Sunday Express

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating 19 July 2012
Though an interesting and dynamic subject this book is basically unreadable to anyone without a serious knowledge of finance and banking. I quote from page 41,

"the answer, from soon after 1825, was to put out such balances with the cities bill brokers, in effect as call loans secured on first class bills".

There is very little explanation preceding this as to what a bill is or what a bill broker does, or what a call loan is. There is a lot of talk of "discounting bills" but this is never explained. From what I can glean it's something about paying for goods before they arrive, and that is why it is so frustrating, you always feel so close to understanding what it is he is saying but he never pauses to break it down, never stops to make it clear.

The book is essentially impenetrable.

More than this it is rambling, it flits about like a society dilettante from one anecdote about a famous person to another without really explaining anything in detail or offering an overview of the period of which it talks.

Mr Kynaston has poured a tremendous amount of research into this book and his hard work and attention to detail really shines through on every page and for that he really deserves the accolades he has been given.

For a general reader, such as myself, it would be much better to explain what it is these brokers and dealers are doing and then to go on to talk about the events which occurred during their professional lives.

An authoritative work on the history of the city, frustrating and unreadable for non-experts.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars fatal flaw 21 Sep 2012
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I have to agree with the 'frustrating' review. This is an excellent and surprisingly involving history of the financial powerhouse of the world. It is well written and balances an overview of the modern age's formation with particular anecdotes and personalities. BUT it desperately needs a glossary of terms. I work in fund management and yet even to me many of the terms are archaic or have now taken on different meanings. Perhaps the book is a victim of its otherwise excellent editing: apparently this was originally a quartet of books and maybe the longer volumes fleshed out some of the mechanics in greater detail. Perhaps it is a victim of its intrinsically complex subject matter and has opted to plough forward frictionless through centuries of information-overload. Either way too much is taken for granted which is a shame because for a little more explication this could be a really accessible and topical history. Enough for television producers to think about a series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Kynaston triumph 16 July 2013
Kynaston has produced a volume on what many people would think is one of the driest subjects possible. On the contrary you can delve in at any point and immediately become engrossed by his telling of famous and not so famous names and how history has a record of repeating itself! Should be compulsory reading before anyone takes up an appointment in the 'square mile'!
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