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103 Reviews
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Right Royal Bankers
A great deal has been written about the banking crisis of 2007-10, much of it of a similar dreadful quality to some of the assets on the RBS balance sheet in 2007. To my mind, two serious attempts have been made to document what led to the crash at RBS: the BBC documentary "Inside the Bank that Ran out of Money", and now Iain Martin's book.

Martin received...
Published 7 months ago by J Cross

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but doesn't really explain what happened
I did enjoy this book and it has been researched well in terms of the people. I think it does a good job of talking about some of the characters at RBS.

The book describes in great detail the investment bank, CDO's and acquisition of ABN Amro along with portraits of the people involved in these areas.

Then casually at the end of the book it is made...
Published 3 months ago by Andrew V


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An excellent read., 10 May 2014
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If you would like to know how dangerous it can be to put a man with minimal banking knowledge and experience in charge of a bank, read on. A well written, well researched story of vanity, greed, ego and incompetence.
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5.0 out of 5 stars How to ruin a country for fun and profit, 4 Aug 2014
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A fantastic book which spells out why big banks need to be regulated closely. The absurdities and obsessions of the people at the top of RBS who had little qualification other than greed and arrogance left this reader rather depressed. The horrifying thing is that nothing has changed. Big bonuses are still being paid for what amounts to theft and fraud and we are told yet again that if the banks do not pay these astronomical sums they will be unable to attract 'the right people'. Bankers have been rewarded with titles and taken into government as 'advisers' and Iain Martin illustrates the folly of this. Nobody has gone to jail.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Account, 9 Jan 2014
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D. Smyth (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy (Hardcover)
This is an excellent account of the rise and fall of RBS. Well written, readable and not too technical. It is a good lesson in what went wrong with our banks leading to the crash of 2008. If you are interested in finding out what happened this book would be a good introduction.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant read. Well researched in an historic context and modern day too on the actions of the main players as the crisis broke, 23 July 2014
Brilliantly written book which I gave to my father in hard back after I had the kindle version. Very poignant especially as I worked for RBS to really get to know just how wrong they got it at the top. I particularly liked the historical element of the book giving not only the evolution of the RBS bank but the British banking system and world wide banking so one fully understand how we arrived at biggest crash in world finance.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good but limited detail, 14 Jan 2014
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This review is from: Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy (Hardcover)
The book presents a good overview of the rise and fall of Fred Goodwin and the decline of RBS. The book is a good read but I was left a little disappointed as I was hoping for a little more meat on the bone regarding the reasons for the decline. I am still waiting for a detailed expose of the collapse of RBS and HBOS. I suspect all potential authors of an expose of this type are disadvantaged by the lack of transparency around the collapse of the British banks during the GFC as a result of the failure to conduct a genuine public inquiry into reasons for collapse and the why the public should be bearing its cost.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Reads like a Greek Tragedy, 29 Sep 2013
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I found this book utterly compelling. Thoroughly researched and well-written, it sets out the background to the world-shattering events leading to the failure of one of the world's largest financial institutions. Reading at times like a thriller crossed with a Greek tragedy, the pressure builds in an almost unbearable tension until the climax which is all the more poignant as we actually lived through it only very recently. My only quibble and the reason why I haven't given this book five stars is that the first few chapters are written in the 'historic present' tense, i.e. it's history and we all know it's in the past but it's written in the present tense so as to make it seem more intense. This is really irritating and the story of the catastrophic collapse of RBS does not require this silly device.
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4.0 out of 5 stars very good account of the rise and fall of RBS, 8 July 2014
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I would recommend this book to all my former colleagues in RBS who, like me, lost all share value during the crisis.
I am impressed at how Iain Martin has managed to obtain so much information (fly in the wall stuff) that we only heard of as rumours so can't verify all that is stated! Iain has also managed to describe CDOs in layman's terms - excellent!
Great read, especially if you can relate to the named individuals.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, 23 Jun 2014
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The first book of a political/ financial nature that the layman can actually read...........and I am a layman. It's written as a factual sequence of events but includes the characters including the strengths and weaknesses of their personalities, where they came from (country and town as well as professionally) and how that affected some of the unfolding events. Whilst there is some artistic licence in there the book tells the story without the boring minutia which inevitably dogs books like these.

A seriously good beach read, so good it's almost a novel, and it educates as well!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Informative and readable, 14 Jun 2014
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Iain Martin has taken on the difficult task of trying to describe what went so woefully wrong at RBS and to give some historic perspective to what was a provincial bank that 'exploded' on to the global scene in just over a decade. I can't imagine that those directly involved were queuing up to give Mr Martin first hand accounts of what went on and, under the circumstances, he has created a readable and informative account of a contender for most disastrous bank award, an award that is sadly competed for by another Scottish based bank (whose demise is described well in Ray Perman's book). The first chapter grips, as it was well intended to, but sadly not as a Hollywood script or work of fiction but as a narrative on just how serious the consequences of RBS' situation was for us all. The fact that the economic system could be so interdependent on the actions of a relatively limited number of organisations and in turn be affected by a limited number of misguided senior representatives of these organisations, as jollied on by shareholders and governments alike, is terrifying. Iain Martin conveys this well without resorting to overt personalisation,when it must have been tempting to do so.
I suspect that Mr Martin may have the opportunity to revisit his book in years to come as more and more information becomes public, and the threats of personal attack on those who shine lights on public affairs lessen, but in the meantime, he and a few other commentators have provided a highly valuable insight into something that should never have been allowed to happen but, sadly, through vested interests or ignorance of how global finance might work in the 21st Century, might 'make it happen again'.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Balanced but scathing., 29 May 2014
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Excellent read. Very well written with a good balance between history of the bank itself mixed in with portraits of the protagonists involved in it's rise and subsequent collapse. Unsurprisingly, given the title, the book is particularly scathing of Goodwin.
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Making it Happen: Fred Goodwin, RBS and the Men Who Blew Up the British Economy
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