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London: The Biography, Street Life and the People Audio Download – Abridged

4 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio Download
  • Listening Length: 2 hours and 59 minutes
  • Program Type: Audiobook
  • Version: Abridged
  • Publisher: Random House AudioBooks
  • Audible.co.uk Release Date: 2 Nov. 2005
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002SQ1GL6

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a history of London, Ackroyd's shifting perspective of the Metropolis lays itself open to criticism from the professional historian. Instead of nailing the City down to a time-line, Ackroyd keeps his structure fluid, his perspective shifting in time and place like the City itself. Grouping his mass of material under headings as diverse as "weather", "murder", "children" etc. allows him to take us back and forth in time within the scope of each chapter. It is the ideal format for his portrait of London as a timeless entity, that encompasses past , present and future and displays each unceasingly. If you like your history caught on the wing, graphic and alive, then I can recommend this book. Peter Ackroyd is more poet than historian, but to capture the feel of a city and its people, to make you smell the medieval, victorian and restoration streets, the poet is the man for the job. He shows us the histories of the hooligan and the aristocrat, bank clerk and psychopath, all detailed with compassion and style. His facts are anecdotal and fascinating, the use of four-letter words down the centuries, where you could get a cheap dinner 300 years ago and who you were likely to meet. An academic history of London it isnt, as a tour of London its the best you'll get.
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Format: Paperback
Everything one wants to know about the history of London, the reason of the existence of some names or habits, a detailed and introspective analysis of the city as if it were a living being, a vivid and real snapshot of past vices and common uses, a comprehensive fresco of the world's most beautiful and enthralling city. Take you time for an accurate and thorough reading, the book is about 800 pages, but once you are in it it gets difficult to put it down
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Format: Hardcover
This is a wonderful book. A really compelling read, and full of fascinating information. It's not often that a 600+ page book can keep me turning the pages, reading it pretty much from cover to cover, but this one did.
Having read it, I now find that when I'm in London, I look at the city in a different way - Ackroyd sheds so much light on the city's history and character.
Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback
Whether you love London or hate London, you have to admit that it has been a world-important city for centuries, perhaps millenia. Living in the place it is very easy to actually love and hate it at the same time. The detailed and well-researched book by Peter Ackroyd decribes the highs and lows of London from pre-history to 2000. The writer's strong and accessible style brings the city to life to the extent that one can almost hear it and smell it. Only one very minor quibble about people moving to the United States after the Great Fire - over a century before there was a United States - calling it the American Colonies would have been better. But that should not detract from Ackroyd's description of a city that was almost a country within a country for much of its history, and in some ways perhaps still is.
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Format: Hardcover
When I first encountered this [book], my first thoughts were, "Why would anyone want to write, let alone read a book about a city, it's hardly rivetting is it, especially one as long as this!" Having been lent this [book] by a friend who I know has impeccible taste in book, and with a lot of persuation by him about good tis book was, I finally decided that I would give the few pages a whirl, and see how it went. About two hundred pages later, and steaming through it, I have to say I was hooked. This [book] was the most unusual, and yet fascinting book I think I have ever read. Through this [book] the history and development of London is charted. This is so well written that the city itself develops as something of a character, and I soon began to feel emotions towards it just as I would with a character in any other good novel. I must say, to achieve this with a landmark is quite a feat! I would recommend this book, as it really is a good read, however it does take some time to get through as it is an extremely long, albeit powerful [book]. All in all, a Capital [book]!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have not read anything so engrossing in a long time. To those people that gave the book one star, you were probably impatient and expecting too much drama. The chronological history of London has been written and re-written many times, Ackroyd did not need to repeat what has already been done. His approach is different, it deals with themes such as homelessness, drinking, rivers, theatre etc. And in each section I learnt something new. And the great thing is that many of the streets and buildings are still standing. And it is the little things that amazed me. An example is the rivers that have been buried under the city - or the Westbourne river whose course can be seen in a pipe at Sloane square tube station! Bravo Peter Ackroyd!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
One of the best books I've read all year. I've read and enjoyed most of Ackroyd's fiction and this comprehensive history of London makes every bit as intriguing and absorbing a read as the novels. Arranged in sections according to theme rather than chronologically, it's a marvellous book to dip into - or to read from cover to cover. Ackroyd treats the city like a living entity; by no means benign, often aggressive, and almost as old as mankind itself. Unmissable.
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