I bought this book simply because I know the City of Chester very well and have an interest in it's history.
I also chose this book above others because it was written by a local historian, though sometimes 'local historians' don't always hit the mark. In fact one book I did read on the same subject, written by a former mayor of the city was disappointing.
The author Simon Ward has written a concise and informative book on the history of the city from Roman times through to the modern day. The book is also well illustrated and it is interesting to see how the city has changed over many years. It is a good starting point as a fairly detailed overview of the historical aspects of the city. Interestingly the illustrations show how city planners during the 1800's and especially in the 1900's have not always got it right as to the kind of buildings and architecture that would fit in with the city. Planning faux pas continue to this day.
There are a couple of downsides.
The maps lack detail, especially street names so it becomes difficult reconcile the map to the city as it was and is now. An overlay of the present city on top of some of the maps would have made it much easier to locate sites. It is a bit like having a road map but with no place names. There are also vague location references such as 'the ruins of the columns of the headquarters building can still be seen in a shop in Northgate Street'. There are a lot of shops in Northgate Street, why not put a number to it? A little more detail is needed perhaps?
I will still give the book a 4 star rating given the quality of the book, but maybe in a reprint add an overlay and a bit more detail to the maps.