With publishing empires swallowing smaller house for breakfast and agents swiping authors left, right, and center, the modern book industry might seem an insider's paradise, an aspiring author's nightmare, a reader's Goldberg contraption. Alas, according to Daniel Pool, 'twas ever thus. Money, advertising, publicity, blurbs, and the author's charisma were just as central to Victorian bookselling as they are now. Focusing particularly on Dickens, Charlotte Brontė, George Eliot, and Thackeray, the author builds up a portrait of cutthroat times and cutthroat measures. Readers will be particularly taken with the author's account of the rise of the serial novel--and Dickens's frustration with the form. (Something Flaubert quickly copped to. After finishing The Pickwick Papers, he commented to George Sand, "Some bits are magnificent, but what a defective structure.") And the quotations Daniel Pool presents, from the epigraphs to Virginia Woolf's assessment on the final page, make Dickens' Fur Coat essential social history.