As summer continues for most of us in the UK and elsewhere, the IOE&IT Daily Update continues its series of summer reads. Next up, content editor Phil Adnett recommends three books to enjoy over a well-deserved holiday break.
Deep Sea and Foreign Going: Inside Shipping, the Invisible Industry that Brings You 90% of Everything
For traders, most of what is moved to and from the UK is done over the water. Understanding the basics of how this works – particularly how tough the world of shipping is for many sailors – is useful for international traders.
In 2013, writer and journalist Rose George went aboard the Kendal on its trip from Felixstowe to Singapore to write first-hand about how our goods are moved across oceans.
George covers everything from normal life onboard a giant shipping vessel, to the dangers of sea life and the mechanics of how to keep trillions of pounds worth of trade moving across an often-inhospitable deep sea.
The book, although lacking in some places, is an easy read full of eye-opening stories about how we move goods from point A to point B and a worthy read when you’re sat beach-side, looking out to sea.
Money for Nothing: The South Sea Bubble and the Invention of Modern Capitalism
If a book begins with a major pandemic causing people to lock themselves away from the world and is mostly set around a major economic crash caused by financial hubris and outright fraud, you would think it would be set in the recent past. Perhaps about Covid, WeWork, Enron or Theranos.
But this is a book about the unravelling of the South Sea Trading Company in 1720 and begins with Isaac Newton’s major scientific discoveries during the Great Plague of 1665-1666.
Thomas Levenson’s narrative takes us through the unravelling of the bursting South Sea Bubble Scheme, where investors pumped money into a company that purported to trade with Spanish Latin America. In reality, almost no trade was carried out, and the scheme eventually collapsed in spectacular fashion in 1720, ruining lives and causing a financial meltdown.
It’s also the story of the birth of modern capitalism. After the bubble burst, several financial reforms took place that would be the basis for the modern UK economy.
But the main point of the book is not financial reform or science. It’s about how this could, and indeed has, kept happening again and again.
Levenson ends with the 2008 collapse of Lehman Brothers and the following global financial crisis, concluding we still haven’t learned the lessons from a scandal that erupted over 300 hundred years ago.
Deep Waters: Mysteries on the Waves
Martin Edwards (Ed)
If fiction is more of your thing on holiday, you could do worse than this collection of more than a century’s worth of some of the best British crime fiction with a maritime background.
Featuring famous authors such as C.S. Forrester and Arthur Conan Doyle, Edward’s makes sure to include some of the more obscure crime writers such as LT Meade, James Pattinson and Christopher St John Sprigg.
The anthology of 16 short stories is mostly set on board freighters, canal barges and cruisers, as some of the greatest crime writers of their generation strive to entertain us with tales of mystery and suspense.
Featuring an early-career Sherlock Holmes recounting his first ever investigation, as well as some sadly-forgotten sleuths, Deep Waters contains a mix of eclectic styles that make it a perfect read for a long, lazy summer afternoon.