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Shredded: Inside RBS, the Bank That Broke Britain Hardcover – 5 Jun 2014

4.6 out of 5 stars 128 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Birlinn Ltd; First Edition edition (5 Jun. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1780271387
  • ISBN-13: 978-1780271385
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 5.1 x 23.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (128 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 77,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


'Shredded is a magnificent book. I regard it as one of the best investigative books of the past decade' -- Eamonn O'Neill, BBC Radio Scotland

'A gripping account . . . RBS was a rogue business, operating in what had become a rogue industry, with the connivance of government. Read it and weep' -- Martin Wolf, Financial Times

'A model of the journalist's craft, Zola-esque in its broad and unsparing study of corporate hubris and nemesis and haunting in the questions it leaves in its wake' -- Bill Jamieson, Scotsman

'Impeccably researched and hard to put down at any point . . . The author pulls no punches' -- Philip Augar, Financial Times

'Explosive' -- Tom Harper, Independent on Sunday

'Combines Greek tragedy with real-life events that have affected us all. It's hard to put down' -- Devraj Ray, Mortgage Strategy

'I don't think I have ever read such a perfect morality tale for our times' -- Iona Bain, FT Adviser

'The definitive text. I'm thinking of Barbarians at the Gate about Kohlberg Kravis Roberts and RJR Nabisco. An instant classic' -- Max Keiser, The Keiser Report

'You should absolutely read Ian Fraser's Shredded. It is probably the definitive work on the British and Irish banks in the Great Bubble and the ensuing Great Financial Crisis' -- Alexander Harrowell, The Yorkshire Ranter

'Engrossing, fascinating and appalling . . . a fast-paced and sickeningly depressing exposition of what can go wrong when corporate governance fails' -- Ruth Bender, Cranfield University

'Magisterial . . . the most detailed catalogue to date of the errors and misdemeanours leading up to RBS's 2008 collapse and the failure -- in Fraser's view -- to reform the bank in its aftermath' -- Colin Donald, Herald

'A rattling good read. Hubris, nemesis. Truly shocking' -- Paul Rogerson, Law Society Gazette

'A manual for understanding banks, the financial crisis, and also corporate greed and hubris' -- P.C. Dettman

'The definitive account of the RBS fiasco. It's an engaging tale of how self-serving bank executives systematically broke the rules, lent ith astonishing recklessness, abused customers and got suckered by Wall Street - before dumping their mess on the taxpayers' -- Yves Smith, author of Naked Capitalism

'Nearly six years after the bailout, Shredded reminds us how much of banking reform is still a work in progress' -- Nick Dunbar, nickdunbar.net

'Ian Fraser has produced a genuine page turner' -- Alex Marsh, Pieria

'The best financial book I've ever read. Thank you, Ian, for a public service' -- Simon Bain, Herald

'Not just the definitive book on the collapse of RBS but one of the best five books on the great financial collapse which changed the history of the 21st century. Ian pulls no punches in his conclusions' -- Russell Napier, CLSA

'This book should be posted through the letterbox of every taxpayer in Britain' --David Mellor, former Chief Secretary to the Treasury

'Shredded is a monumental book, well written, impeccably researched and hard to put down at any point' --Financial Times

'Not just a book about RBS but about something profound that happened ethically in our country' --Russell Napier, CLSA

About the Author

Ian Fraser is an award-winning journalist, commentator and broadcaster whose work has been published by among others The Economist, Financial Times, The Sunday Times, Independent on Sunday, Guardian, Observer, Mail on Sunday, Herald, Sunday Herald, Thomson Reuters, Huffington Post, economia and QFINANCE. He has taught at the University of Stirling, and his BBC documentary, RBS: The Bank That Ran Out of Money, was short-listed for a Bafta. He is a graduate of St Andrews University and lives in Scotland.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Shredded is one of the most compulsive books I have ever read. I regularly had to pinch myself to make sure it was not science fiction but a real life story that I was reading. There are many villains brutally exposed. I wonder if the Crown Prosecution Service will read this book and decide to open proceedings urgently?

Ian Fraser has painstakingly gathered a huge amount of material from the most diverse of sources. The effort put in by the author ought to be read as a fundamental case study in all the world’s Business Schools.

Had I been a non-executive director of RBS during any of the years 1998 – 2008 I would be mortified reading Shredded. Like the main culprit they too were guilty as charged.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Ian Fraser has taken on the difficult task of analysing a complex subject and has done it well, including obtaining information from well informed sources. Whilst the subject makes for dismal reading, when one recognises that it is fact not fiction and that we are all bearing the consequences of the banking crisis still, it is an important subject to be understood and Shredded will make a significant contribution to the understanding for layperson and expert alike. Fraser has marshalled a mass of information to allow the reader to understand the connected nature of misconduct, poor regulation, misguidedness and sheer recklessness that prevailed for more than a decade, with limited understanding, except with hindsight, of the disastrous consequences of inflated values, stretched balance sheets and poor quality business. Sadly, as Fraser points out, there are still unresolved issues in the banking sector, not least reconciling between deposit taking and lending institutions when combined with proprietary trading and risk taking institutions, and one wonders whether the lessons have really been learned. Reading Ian Fraser's excellent book will help those still trying to blame it all on globalisation and forces of nature, rather than human folly and greed, to recognise that markets go up and down but borrowing needs to be repaid regardless or we are all losers, as has been the case with tax payer bailouts to meet the horrific losses of certain banks post 2007, with RBS leading the charge to the bottom!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ian Fraser has done us a tremendous service. His 500 page examination of The Royal Bank of Scotland is a master-class of journalistic endeavour. He combines painstaking research, an indefatigable appetite to track down and interview the protagonists and the hacks gift of a well turned phrase to keep the reader engaged. This could have been an academic, desiccated dissection of finance and governance, a tome that might be found in ten years time in the banking and finance section of a City bookshop. It deserves no such fate; it should be presented in the biography section for that is what Fraser has delivered: nothing less than the biography of a bank, charting its rise and spectacular fall. This is the tale of Icarus rewritten for the acolytes of Mammon.

Fraser is a financial journalist of considerable experience and starts with the advantage of knowing his subject better than most having covered finance and RBS for years. Based in the relatively small and tightly knit community that is Edinburgh Fraser has absorbed the story of RBS steadily from the first flickering on the seismograph when HSBC considered buying the tiny UK bank to the needle-shaking purchase of NatWest that catapulted the bank into our collective consciousness.

I was in Hong Kong at the time of that bid and we saw it as nothing more than one Scottish bank seeking out another Scottish bank as part of a growing, global expansion. I was at NatWest too when RBS bought and effectively buried the old school of banking that had been on notice since Big Bang and the fundamental realignment of the financial sector. From that moment I became aware of, at times was a witness to, the many episodes that Fraser documents in this ultimately tragic tale.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
An extremely detailed account of how an institution that was a paragon of Scottish conservative thrift was changed into an un-regulated financial 'machine' of individual and corporate greed, unbounded egos, and a 'screw the punter' mentality that changed the face of British banking forever. Ian Fraser is to be be commended for his exhaustive research supported but extensive footnotes - something that I find refreshing of a journalist. Reading this heavy-weight tomb was a challenge but if you want an insight into the world of international banking, financial institutions and the politics before, during and after the financial crash of 2008 from a UK perspective then this the first book you should read. The book identifies those responsible at the Royal Bank of Scotland but makes it clear that, that bank is only one of many responsible not only in the UK, Europe but across the entire financial world. Ultimately the fault lies in many places but primarily with politicians pursuing their own vain-glorious aims. By dismantling government regularity controls over most of the capitalist financial markets and allowing financial institutions to invent their own internal 'risk assessment' protocols the 2008 crash was created by those newly 'freed' financial institutions.
This book names names, those who were and are responsible. Most are still in responsible positions. None have appeared before any court of law. Near all still receive salaries the ordinary working man could only dream of... Read more but be aware that your blood pressure might rise considerably, page after, page, after page...
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