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5.0 out of 5 stars Another Kynaston triumph
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'!
Published 14 months ago by El Marstro

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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Frustrating
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...
Published on 19 July 2012 by An Interested Reader


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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
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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
This review is from: City of London: The History (Paperback)
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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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsory, 24 July 2013
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This review is from: City of London: The History (Paperback)
The only practical way to write an accessible history of the Square Mile is this way. The story is faithful to the detail and the facts but it portrays them through reference to the personalities and figures who cut the landscape. A painstaking technical, linear, sequential account would miss the point. If the history of the world is "but the biography of great men", (which it more or less is if we are to focus on the things that really matter) then Kynaston shows that the history of the City is but the ambition and industry of flawed men who are driven by vanity, greed and addiction. This is one of those books that I buy and send to my friends to assist their intellectual advancement and understanding of the chaos we live in. This is goal historians should aim at: well researched, nicely selective and superbly expressed. I don't write many reviews but I give this Top Marks. I look forward to reading the post WW2 of Britain by the same author.
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5 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars financial history - understand why, 14 Feb 2012
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Serene Gardiner (UAE) - See all my reviews
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a must read for anyone who wish to understand financial history. what has happened. the how and why.

there is so much history in the city which still affects us today, probably for a long time to come.

the repeated rise and fall of the city is a human tale. where there is greed and unscrupulous behaviour, there is also ingenuity, courage and hard work.

there is always two sides to a coin.
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18 of 90 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars City of London: The History, 10 Dec 2011
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A a real cockney, I was misled into thinking this would be a history of the City of London: the guilds, the churches, the schools, the hospitals etc. Instead it was just about the Stock Exchange, the banks and finance.
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City of London: The History
City of London: The History by David Kynaston (Paperback - 1 Nov 2012)
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