Anglo Republic by Simon Carswell

“Bankers like to say that their institutions are likeliest to die not of cancer in their loan book but of a heart attack in their treasury operation. This would ultimately prove accurate in Anglo’s case: the cancer would have got it eventually, but the primary cause of death was cardiac arrest.”

Simon Carswell’s account of the decline and fall of Anglo Irish Bank, Anglo Republic was published by Penguin in the first week of September 2011. I suspect I am not the only book blogger to have pre-ordered a copy and I have been reading it compulsively over the last few days. It’s a well-written and coherent account of the amazing growth of Anglo, how difficulties began to emerge, the escalation of those difficulties, the response of the bank’s senior management and board, the  with other banks, the involvement of the State, and the impact on the Irish economy. Even though much of the story is familiar because of the extensive coverage Anglo has received over the last several years, Carswell brings new insights not just to what happened but to how and why some of it happened.

If Tom Lyons and Brian Carey gave us Sean Fitzpatrick’s perspective in The Fitzpatrick Tapes  published by Penguin earlier this year,  Carwell gives us another angle. He has clearly had access to extensive material and the book is rich in detail. He also cites stories by other journalists.