This is a fascinating read for those who know London, or for those who are merely curious. In this book, Taylor leads us through the East End of Spitalfields (that which lies between the City and Bethnal Green). He gives us a taste of the charectors and the lives of the people he meets - he introduces us to charectors we know off of Television like Dan Cruickshank or from art like Gilbert and George. He also introduces other charectors who populate the area, and who make the area what it is.
This book in many ways ought to be read alongside Ken Leech's work in East End Urban theology like "Through Our Long Exile" as his work guides our understanding, as seems to have guided Taylor's, to understand the people and the history of the area. When Taylor talks about the encroachment of the City into this area, he highlights the foibles and eccentricities which would be lost by its destruction. He shows that it is vibrant and full of life.
If I have any criticism of this book, it is that it becomes too involved in the analysis at times. There is also the danger, I feel, that Taylor becomes too much the observer, offering comment and analysis, but in doing so, detaching himself from the community he is trying to become involved with. I also wince at such an upper-middle class man (and cleric at that), trying to be a real cockney - then again, it is this that makes this book so interesting, and gives it much of its charm and interest.