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.
The ‘Square Mile’, London’s financial powerhouse,rose to prominence with the defeat of Napoleon in 1815. David Kynaston’s vibrant history brings this world to life, taking us from the railway boom of the 1830s to the ‘Golden Age’, between 1890 and 1914, when Britain’s legendary gold standard reigned supreme. Times were harder between the two World Wars, when the Citywas affected by the Wall Street Crash, pressured by politicians anxious for votes, trade unions and industrialists. But by the end of the twentieth century the City had regained a precarious global might, although it could hardly be said to be ‘British’ at all – yet as the importance of the Rothschilds, Schroders and Kleinworts suggests, perhaps it never had been. Woven throughout are the stories of four individuals who shaped the City in different ways – Nathan Rothschild, Ernest Cassel, Montagu Norman and Siegmund Warburg. But the realm of great bankers and brokersis also the workplace of young clerks throwing paper darts, typists bringing in their sandwiches, and sad racketeers watching aghast as the markets fall. Above all, we see what it was like to work in the City – the dress codes, eating habits, work hours, pay, humour, changing architecture and language that forged the unique culture of the Square Mile.Richly entertaining, full of vivid anecdotes, this is a story ofbooms, busts and bankruptcies – from the Kaffir boom to the Marconi scandal, the ‘Big Bang’ deregulation of 1986, and the Barings crash in 1995 – bringing us to the brink of the stormy modern age.
Format & Editions
January 16, 2013
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