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A History of London [Paperback]

Stephen Inwood
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

6 Oct 2000
'The best single-volume history of London' Simon Jenkins, Evening Standard

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Product details

  • Paperback: 1136 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan; New edition edition (6 Oct 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0333671546
  • ISBN-13: 978-0333671542
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 15.3 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 62,679 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Book Description

Stephen Inwood has written a compelling and comprehensive history of this incredibly unique and complicated city, from the fires and plundering of latterday Londinium to the frenetic art, music and politics of London's last 30 years. This is the updated paperback edition. 'Inwood's book has it all, so much so that, coming to the end, the reader wants to start over again.' Sunday Times 'An utterly winning work, erudite yet entertaining... This is a wonderful book.' Financial Times 'Inwood proves himself a heroic reader, absorbing and filtering all that is to be known about a city for which he has a genuine and abiding affection.' Daily Telegraph 'As sprawling and richly textured as London itself.' Independent

About the Author

Stephen Inwood was born in London in 1947, the son of a taxi driver. After studying at Balliol and St. Antony's College, Oxford, he was for many years a university history lecturer before becoming a professional writer after publication of his highly acclaimed A History Of London in 1999. He is an Associate Professor of New York University in London, and a Research Fellow at Kingston University. He lives in Richmond, West London, with his wife and sons.

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Customer Reviews

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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive 23 Jan 2005
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
Stephen Inwood has put together perhaps the most complete single-volume history of London to date. While many historians focus on a particular London (and yes, there are many Londons -- literary London, political London, et al.), and Inwood is no exception in taking particular focus at different times, this book touches on all the facets, by concentrating largely on London's inhabitants, and, as they belong to different Londons, exploring their native Londons and the interactions between the differing Londons.
Inwood from his childhood looked upon London as a 'remote and fascinating place'. His father as a London cab driver (as one finds, when living in or visiting London, often those who know the city best). Inwood infuses his memory of this fascination on every page of this 1100 page text, eliminating the remoteness by description and analysis that is excellent. As Inwood says, 'You can still walk the streets that Boswell and Dickens walked, and even, if you look carefully, see some of the buildings they saw.'
Inwood, realising that many histories begin with the 'easy bits', tackled the problem of writing history from the beginning, with Londinium, and even before. 'The first known inhabitants of the Greater London aea were the late Ice Age (8000 BC) hunters whose flint tools and reindeer bones were found in Uxbridge in the 1980s. From there he traces the founding of Londinium through Boudicca's revolt to Flavian Londinium to its virtual abandonment. London again had a revival during Anglo-Saxon times, being rebuilt by Alfred the Great or his son, Edward the Elder.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
If you have any serious interest in London, read this book. It covers the whole canvas from Roman times to the present day and despite the 1100 odd pages, it is immensely readable. Although I have not lived in London for 20 years, I was born and bred there and maybe this helps ones appreciation, but I found it fascinating. As a Freeman of the City, I was particularly interested in the development of the City through the ages, but the modern era is interesting too. Nothing changes - greed, politics, poverty and snobbery are in every age.
Why 4 crowns not 5? My only criticism is that some more maps to illustrate the text would have been helpful. There are excellent historic maps at the end of the book, but I longed for some 'local' ones to illustrate the discussions in the chapters. Maybe in the next edition??
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More History Like This Please. 5 Feb 2003
Format:Paperback
The most readable history book I have ever read, bar none. This is a masterpiece of research, factually presented in a format that should interest the most avid reader, student and even the casual reader. No frills, no speculation, but pure information. A bit like the Forth Bridge, though...I have to re-read passages to glean information I am sure I missed at the first reading. A daunting first impression at 1100 pages, but do not be put off - it is a book you can take time to read.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very comprehensive 27 Feb 2006
By Kurt Messick HALL OF FAME
Format:Paperback
Stephen Inwood has put together perhaps the most complete single-volume history of London to date. While many historians focus on a particular London (and yes, there are many Londons -- literary London, political London, et al.), and Inwood is no exception in taking particular focus at different times, this book touches on all the facets, by concentrating largely on London's inhabitants, and, as they belong to different Londons, exploring their native Londons and the interactions between the differing Londons.
Inwood from his childhood looked upon London as a 'remote and fascinating place'. His father as a London cab driver (as one finds, when living in or visiting London, often those who know the city best). Inwood infuses his memory of this fascination on every page of this 1100 page text, eliminating the remoteness by description and analysis that is excellent. As Inwood says, 'You can still walk the streets that Boswell and Dickens walked, and even, if you look carefully, see some of the buildings they saw.'
Inwood, realising that many histories begin with the 'easy bits', tackled the problem of writing history from the beginning, with Londinium, and even before. 'The first known inhabitants of the Greater London aea were the late Ice Age (8000 BC) hunters whose flint tools and reindeer bones were found in Uxbridge in the 1980s. From there he traces the founding of Londinium through Boudicca's revolt to Flavian Londinium to its virtual abandonment. London again had a revival during Anglo-Saxon times, being rebuilt by Alfred the Great or his son, Edward the Elder.
Read more ›
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34 of 38 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
Don't be put off by the 1100-page length.: this is a supremely well-written, readable history based on hundreds of original sources and presented in bite-sized chunks each of which can be read and digested in 10 minutes. The most relaxing way I can think of to absorb complex, interesting ideas.
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