The Square Mile , London s financial powerhouse, rose to prominence with the defeat of Napoleon inDavid Kynaston s vibrant history brings this world to life, taking us from the railway boom of the s to the Golden Age , when the legendary gold standard reigned supreme Between the two World Wars the City was affected by the Wall Street Crash, pressured by politicians, trade unions and industrialists, but by the end of the twentieth century it had regained a precarious global mightWoven 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 brokers is 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 of booms, busts and bankruptcies from the Kaffir boom to the Marconi scandal, the Big Bang deregulation of , and the Barings crash inbringing us to the brink of the modern ageDavid Knayston s groundbreaking history of the City of London, published in four volumes betweenand , is a modern classic Skillfully 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


10 thoughts on “City of London, 1815-2000

  1. Mike Clarke Mike Clarke says:

    David Kynaston s history of the City that is to say, a history of its money and the people who made it, rather than the topography or toponymy of the City itself is described as magisterial but The Observer and that s not a bad way to describe it It has a certain lordly, commanding air the kind of attitude that parents pay public schools a fortune to instill in their offspring Kynaston sweeps along, at what turns out to be a brisk pace, sweeping up a robust cast of characters and his e David Kynaston s history of the City that is to say, a history of its money and the people who made it, rather than the topography or toponymy of the City itself is described as magisterial but The Observer and that s not a bad way to describe it It has a certain lordly, commanding air the kind of attitude that parents pay public schools a fortune to instill in their offspring Kynaston sweeps along, at what turns out to be a brisk pace, sweeping up a robust cast of characters and his easy familiarity with Natty Rothschild and their ilk is winsome That said, there s a lot of it HAL Fisher observed that history is just one damn thing after another rendered inAnglo Saxon terms by Rudge in Alan Bennett s The History Boys And so it is with the City of London It didn t just happen, you know and the banks, financial institutions and financiers themselves crowd these pages in the manner of the picture of a Big Bang era broker room on the back cover This is actually the abridged version completists please note, it s actually distilled from four count em full volumes from which this is the edited highlights Books rarely defeat me but I m afraid this one has however engagingly written, and certain specialist writers broadcasters could learn a thing or two from Kynaston about making a specialist topic accessible to the disinterested audience, there s just a little too much of a good thing That said, a certain amount of knowledge is assumed a primer in economics or a basic chronological British history this isn t.Kynaston brings the City to life with its copper plate facades, gleaming glasshouses and great, flawed towers but this will really retain the interest mainly of people who work or maybe live in the City, as well as those who are particularly interested in money


  2. Stephen Bigger Stephen Bigger says:

    As usual for David K s books, superbly researched and readably written On of my collection of London history books.


  3. Karen Lewis Karen Lewis says:

    very interesting


  4. Valerie Thompson Valerie Thompson says:

    I have not read all of this book, which is an abridged version of David Kynaston s four volume history of the City of London, which I also possess, but what I have read I rate as second to none I know David, and I am mentioned in his City of London Vol.IV A Club No More, which I mention so as to be fair to potential readers That said, his ability to understand minutae and grasp what drives humanity and how societies knit together, and then convey that information objectively, is incredible I have not read all of this book, which is an abridged version of David Kynaston s four volume history of the City of London, which I also possess, but what I have read I rate as second to none I know David, and I am mentioned in his City of London Vol.IV A Club No More, which I mention so as to be fair to potential readers That said, his ability to understand minutae and grasp what drives humanity and how societies knit together, and then convey that information objectively, is incredible His success isthan well deserved If you want to know about the City of London and its history, there s no other book to buy


  5. Nick Harriss Nick Harriss says:

    This is a first rate history of the City of London in terms of business life the the City Corporation itself covering 1800 to 2000 It certainly filled in several gaps for me Well recommended.