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Illustrated London Hardcover – 2 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus (2 Oct. 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 070117613X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701176136
  • Product Dimensions: 28 x 2.5 x 28 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 263,818 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Publisher

Magnificent pictorial history of London. Peter Ackroyd's TV series (BBC) based on his bestselling London: A Biography will be broadcast in January 2004.

About the Author

Programme one begins with Peter Ackroyd speaking the words: 'I have lived in this city all my life. I was brought up on a council house estate in west London.' It goes on to show him describing Turnmill Street (for centuries, associated with pornography); Cannon Street (haunted), Park Lane (the exact road dates from Anglo-Saxon times). There is no corner of London that he does not know. He has written biographers of the people whom he calls 'cockney visionaries' (Dickens, Blake, Thomas More) and many of his novels are set in London, including the most recent, The Clerkenwell Tales, a delightful 'take' on Chaucer.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 49 people found the following review helpful By Andrea T Miller-Chan on 4 Nov. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Written history is always subjective. Admittedly here Mr Ackroyd has made no exception. I am a New Yorker by birth but London has been my home for a third of my life.Peter Ackroyd writes about 'his London' and this has become 'my London' too.To read any of Peter Ackroyd's books on London, fiction, biography or history is to have all of one's senses come alive.The reader is transported to that time and place.We walk the hidden alleyways of a London that survives just below the surface of this modern city. This is TS Eliott's 'intersection of the timeless moment'.When Ackroyd critcises modern developments in this city, it is because everyday the essence of this wonderful city becomes a bit more obscured beneath concrete. Instead of feeling all of London's tenses, past, present and future: we are fast losing touch with its past. In the future we will have more and more to thank Peter Ackroyd for. His beautiful evocative prose have created a time capsule for all of us who love this city. Certainly this is a gift not only to Londoners but to anyone who wants to peak around corners, who finds magic walking the streets of this or any city in the pre-dawn hours, but mostly to those of us who are not merely content to walk the concrete pavements of this city and claim that we know it.The brilliance of Peter Ackroyd's work has delighted me with each new title since reading "Hawksmoor" many years ago. This latest work is a wonderful addition to an excellent body of work.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By buddingpasha on 20 Mar. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Although I have lived in London most of my life, it still fascinates me. I have bought and read several books on LOndon over the last few months including Roy Porter. This is a very informative and undemanding book in terms of text. The illustrations are what makes this book a true gem especially those snapshots of ordinary Londoners. Particularly poignant were images of children during the Blitz. A good present for interested Londoners and especially people coming to move here from overseas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Billy4242 on 17 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover
I love this book. I have lived all over London and recognise the London and Londoners described in this. The feel of London, the poetry of the city, the movement and repetition are recognisable. The weight of history, the transient nature of its community, its trials, successes and failures. This is no dry text book, it is flamboyant and lively, much like the city itself. Long live London!
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By Trish on 3 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an absolute gem of a book - not only is the text informative but the illustrations are FAB-U-LOUS! Its a fairly considerable size - I guess you might call it a "coffee table book" but honestly, its just gorgeous. If you are interested in the history of London, this is a really great introduction - Peter Ackroyd knows London!
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67 of 118 people found the following review helpful By Bruce Loveitt on 20 Oct. 2003
Format: Hardcover
Peter Ackroyd was born in London and has lived there all of his life. I am not British and have never even been to London. Before I sat down to write this review I asked myself, "Who am I to criticize?" But after doing some soul-searching I think my criticisms are valid. I assume that most people who read this review will be residents of London. So, after you finish reading this you can decide if the review has any value. I know that Mr. Ackroyd has previously written both biography and history, but I also know that he is equally famous as a novelist. Perhaps it might have been better if the wonderful illustrations (photos, portraits, cartoons, etc.) in this book had been accompanied by text written by someone who is a "pure" historian....or else, call this a "personal history." The text is too personal, too metaphysical, too subjective. What are we to make of the following sentences? "London goes beyond any boundary or convention. It contains every wish or word ever spoken, every action or gesture ever made, every harsh or noble statement ever expressed." Appropriate for a novel, yes. For a work of history, no. Mr. Ackroyd seems very alienated and the book is very negative. The author states that there is no sense of community in London - people seem cut off from one another and dazed by all the urban confusion. He says there is no respect for the past - buildings are constantly being torn down and others are being put up. He states that the making of money is considered all-important. Am I saying that Mr. Ackroyd is wrong? Of course not. I'm sure many people feel the same way. I'm also sure many people would disagree and would feel that his comments are too dogmatic - too one-sided. What Mr. Ackroyd is presenting isn't history, it's commentary. The text presents other problems. Sometimes Mr.Read more ›
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