19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: City of London: The History (Hardcover)
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.