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By Permission Of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London
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By Permission Of Heaven: The Story of the Great Fire of London [Kindle Edition]

Adrian Tinniswood
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

Print List Price: £10.99
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Amazon Review

The great fire of London, here documented by Adrian Tinniswood in By Permission of Heaven is an apt reminder of urban disaster 17th-century-style. The story of the fire, which began in a bakery in Pudding Lane, is well-known, but as well as focusing on the fire itself--its cause, spread and its victims--Tinniswood is good at setting out the wider background to the event. He shows how the fire not only followed the devastation of the bubonic plague, but also came in the midst of the Anglo-Dutch war, public resentment at the restoration of the pro-Catholic Charles II and lingering anti-court feeling in the Square Mile (the City had stoutly supported Cromwell 20 years earlier). He focuses on the leading personalities of the drama--the gallant Duke of York, the hapless Sir Thomas Bludworth, the fussy Samuel Pepys, and the visionary Sir Christopher Wren.

Tinniswood is not distracted by trivia. He describes clearly the longer-term consequences of the fire: the rebuilding of the City, the emergence of fire insurance, and the exodus of noxious trades into the outer reaches of the capital. Above all, Tinniswood shows how anti-Catholic and xenophobic bigotry convinced Londoners for decades afterwards that an axis of evil starting in Popish Rome and ending with foreign arsonists was the real cause of the fire. Then, as now, religious fundamentalism and common-sense did not go hand-in-hand. --Miles Taylor


"Marvellously readable" (Daily Mail)

"The story of London's great fire is one of the set-pieces of English history. But the strength of Adrian Tinniswood's measured narrative lies in the fresh emphasis he places on its fallout" (Andrew Holgate Sunday Times)

"This book is more than just a gripping account of the great fire...with immense skill, Adrian Tinniswood uncovers the cross-currents of special interests that the disaster brought into play, many of which lend the story an almost contemporary feel" (Christopher Hudson Daily Mail)

"Admirably researched and highly evocative" (Nicholas Seddon Spectator)

"Even Pepys is too near and involved an observer to convey the full magnitude of the catastrophe. For that we need an historian, and Adrian Tinniswood's new account of the Great Fire rises impressively to the challenge" (John Adamson Sunday Telegraph)

Book Description

A magnificently told, thrilling account of one of the most dramatic events in British history.

Product Description

There had, of course, been other fires, Four Hundred and fifty years before, the city had almost burned to the ground. Yet the signs from the heavens in 1666 were ominous: comets, pyramids of flame, monsters born in city slums. Then, in the early hours on 2 September, a small fire broke out on the ground floor of a baker's house in Pudding Lane. In five days that small fire would devastate the third largest city in the Western world.

Adrian Tinniswood's magnificent new account of the Great Fire of London explores the history of a cataclysm and its consequences. It pieces together the untold human story of the Fire and its aftermath - the panic, the search for scapegoats, and the rebirth of a city. Above all, it provides an unsurpassable recreation of what happened to schoolchildren and servants, courtiers and clergyman when the streets of London ran with fire.

From the Publisher

A magnificently told, thrilling account of one of the most dramatic events in British history.

About the Author

Adrian Tinniswood is a historian and educationalist. He lectures regularly in Britain and USA, and was for many years consultant to the National Trust on heritage education. He is the author of eleven previous books on social and architectural history, including The Polite Tourist: A History of Country House Visiting, Visions of Power: Ambition and Architecture, and, most recently, His Invention So Fetile, his acclaimed biography of Sir Christopher Wren, also published in Pimlico.
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