Serious Money: Walking Plutocratic London (Paperback)Caroline Knowles (author)
'A latter-day Canterbury Tales ... Serious Money has a serious mission' The Times
'Eye-opening ... part guide, part indictment of a yawning wealth gap' Misha Glenny, Financial Times
London is a plutocrat's paradise, with more resident billionaires than New York, Hong Kong or Moscow. Far from trickling down, their wealth is burning up the environment and swallowing up the city. But what do we really know about London's super rich, and the lives they lead?
To find out more about this secretive elite, sociologist Caroline Knowles walks the streets of London from the City to suburban Surrey. Her walks reveal how the wealthy shape the capital in their image, creating a new world of gated communities and luxury developments. Along the way we meet a wide and wickedly entertaining cast of millionaires, billionaires and those who serve them: bankers, tech tycoons, Conservative party donors, butlers, bodyguards, divorce lawyers and many more.
By turns jaw-dropping, enraging and enlightening, Serious Money explodes the fiction that wealth is a condition to aspire to, revealing the isolation and paranoia which accompany it when the plutocrat's recompense - a life of unlimited luxury - ultimately proves hollow. It is a powerful reminder that it is not just the super-rich who get to make the city: we make it too, and could demand something different. Because serious money is good for no one - not even the rich.
'An eye-opening, deeply disturbing, fast-moving journey through the lives, homes and affairs of the filthy rich of London' Danny Dorling, author of All That Is Solid
'A wonderful and vital account of a city ruled by, and for, extreme wealth' Anna Minton, author of Big Capital
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Number of pages: 320
Weight: 236 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 x 18 mm
Knowles' book helps readers to see [London's super-rich] as less secretive, more troubling and a great deal sadder ... Serious Money has a serious mission. These vast fortunes, Knowles argues, do not just make people miserable. They are rotting the ties that hold our society together. -- Edward Lucas * The Times *
Knowles's book acted on me like a goad, a stone in the shoe ... The questing sociologist has an agenda. She is our nominated surrogate in occupied territory. And she is persistent ... Among the freakishly perverse bankers and investors, she behaves like Orwell in Wigan. -- Iain Sinclair * London Review of Books *
Again and again, Knowles's stories attest to a money machine devoted to nothing but its own perpetuation ... In the tradition of the great literary walkers, from Walter Benjamin to Will Self, her insistence on crossing the city on foot is, in an important sense, an act of resistance, an embrace of urban realities in defiance of the sad confinement of extreme wealth, its smoked-glass segregation. -- Nat Segnit * Times Literary Supplement *
A fascinating investigation of plutocratic London ... as gripping as a pulp detective novel in which we glimpse the slimy, far from slummy lives of the morally corrupt. She patrols London's elite enclaves with a sharp eye for telling social and architectural details ... Knowles combines cunning and charm. -- Matthew Beaumont * New Statesman *
An eye-opening, deeply disturbing, fast-moving journey through the lives, homes and affairs of the filthy rich of London. -- Danny Dorling
Fascinating, punchy, thought-provoking. Serious Money exposes the corrosive impact of London's super rich on our economy, society and politics, and comprehensively busts the myth that their wealth trickles down to the rest of us. -- Frances O'Grady
A wonderful and vital account of a city ruled by, and for, extreme wealth. -- Anna Minton, author of Big Capital
Startling, spirited ... Knowles is alert to arresting details ... a wry primer to the extravagances of the super rich. -- Alex Diggins * The Critic *
Years of footwork through the streets of central London have gone into producing this magnificent but disturbing book on the lives and influence of the super-rich. Knowles writes with enviable lightness and pace about how money, property, birth, breeding, contacts, secrecy, parasites and servants have created a class that owns and milks London, a world away from the city's ordinary citizens. A powerful ethnography of plutocratic power. -- Professor Ash Amin, author of Seeing Like a City
An innovative and disturbingly entertaining travelogue covering one of the most important issues of our time ... could not have been published at a more critical time. -- Matt Reynolds * LSE Review of Books *
Sociologist Caroline Knowles takes you through the neighborhoods of the capital city telling stories of how the ultra-wealthy live and work; how they spend their money, marry and divorce; and why London is one of the best places for those with nefarious intentions to hide money from authorities. * Investopedia - Best Economics Books of 2022 *
A guided tour of the spaces and lifestyles of London's super-rich. Written in an engaging and accessible manner that draws the reader into spaces and conversations otherwise out of bounds, Knowles subtly exposes the paradoxes inherent within the life and politics of the super-rich in London. -- Sobia Ahmad Kaker * Soundings *
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