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Newcastle: The Biography

Newcastle: The Biography [Kindle Edition]

Bill Purdue
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Product Description

Newcastle’s history begins with Pons-Aelius, a Roman bridge and fort to the eastern end of Hadrian’s Wall. The town took its name from the ‘new castle’ built after the Norman Conquest around which a settlement nestled for protection. Its position, as the guardian of the main eastern route between England and Scotland, gave it considerable military significance.

The town’s great moments, when it was besieged and taken by the Scots in 1642 under General Leslie and when Charles l was imprisoned there, are all recounted in full evocative detail. A central theme is Newcastle’s vibrant social and cultural history for this was both an innovative and pleasure-loving society, known for its inventiveness and its promotion of the arts and sciences, but also for its robust and occasionally riotous popular culture. A bye-law regulating the dress of apprentices of 1554 inveighed against the gambling and ‘typling, danncing and brasenge of harlots’ that was said to characterise the lifestyle of the apprentices. A puritanical observer of the town’s twenty-first-century nightlife might feel that little had changed…

The Kindle Edition contains 57 illustrations (41 in colour)

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4172 KB
  • Print Length: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Amberley Publishing (10 May 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0082BYPDM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #391,826 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A well-crafted history 1 May 2012
Bill Purdue's book is probably the most literary of the three quality volumes on the history of Newcastle which I have read in the last few years. It sits comfortably alongside the more analytical compilation 'Newcastle upon Tyne: A modern history' edited by Colls & Lancaster (2001) and the rather more speculative 'Tyneside: A history of Newcastle and Gateshead from erliest times' by Moffat & Rosie (2005).

The strength of this book is its political dimension with a lot of detail on both the structure and personalities of local government since Tudor times. It was fascinating to trace the descent of those families commemorated in the street names of our great city: Blackett, Ellison, Ridley etc. It was a real gem to be informed of Charles I's enjoyment of golf in Shieldfield during his prolonged captivity in Newcastle. In the same genre, Purdue might have included the self-imposed exile of the great philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein who worked as a lowly technician in the Clinical Research Unit based in the RVI and lived in Brandling Park during World War II. According to his biographer Ray Monk (1990), Wittgenstein was fixated on Western films. Undoubtedly he would have occasionally indulged his passion at the Jesmond cinema where I indulged my passion during teenage courting two decades later.

If there is a weakness in this book it is in the relatively scant treatment of education. The private grammar schools receive a modicum of attention, although I might have expected some mention of Collingwood, Nelson's second-in-command at Trafalgar and a former RGS pupil.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Out On the Toon 5 Feb. 2012
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I've lived in or near Newcastle for over half my life now and it's a wonderful city, but my knowledge of its history was sketchy at best, a fact which really needed remedying.

There are a number of histories out there, but I decided to go with Purdue's because it is one of the most recent. Purdue's pedigree is also an impressive one - lecturer at Northumbria University and the Open University. Unfortunately, this is where the book's one weakness lies: too many of the chapters read like uncorrected lecture notes bunged together to make up the page count. There is a tendency in one or two chapters to repeat information every few pages, almost as if you couldn't be expected to remember salient facts for more than a few seconds at a time. Having had to do the same thing with my own students merely confirms the book's origins for me.

That aside, this is a very interesting and thorough book, charting the city's story from prehistory to the modern day and covering politics, architecture, music, sport and religion period by period (where appropriate). Purdue's style is easy to read and there are some wonderful accompanying pictures. A chunky tome at 350 pages, this will keep you entertained and out of mischief for many hours.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Easy to read history of Newcastle 9 Jan. 2014
By Cully
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This book was easy to read giving lots of information suitable for history student and those just wanting an easy read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars 3 Sept. 2014
By jeff53
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
good read well written book
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