on 20 April 2009
This book has an amazing amount of information for its size. It's easy to take with you if you're travelling or visiting London. I first came across it in a City Hotel whilst staying on business over ten years ago and ended up buying a copy. I've just bought and read the latest (2007) version.
The book covers everything from Roman Britain to the building of London's Underground Railway and beyond. There are sections on London's historical markets, its peoples (why so many different nationalities have been attracted to the city over the centuries), its parks, its battles (from the Roman Invasion and the Civil War to World War II) and much, much more. There are lots of quirky references too, for example the human remains discovered and reburied from beneath a City Church when building the Bank Underground Station. Who can have imagined such a construction when burying their dead all those centuries ago!
On the downside? Well, some readers might find that, in some instances, a reference to a particular individual or event is too brief and want to know more. Yet there is a schedule of further reading for those who need further knowledge. Also, this is an updated version, not a rewrite, so some sections have added information, eg docklands, without the original text having been changed. Yet any criticisms are far outweighed by the positives. There is an amazing amount of information in this book.
This is an excellent book and outstanding value for its price. And what an good name (assuming it's not a pen name) for the author - Mr Tames - for writing a book about a city that owes its very existence to the River Thames.
on 16 June 2001
I thought this book was so good I gave it to some American friends and they loved it too! There are so many guidebooks available on sightseeing, shopping and eating in London but what I wanted was a good historical guide and that is what you get. I really enjoyed the author's ability to bring the very colourful history of London to life. All the major historical events are here but they are leavened with interesting anecdotes about famous people and places that I had not come across before. The book is a concise history but the author manages to pack a lot into it. It is obvious that he really loves London and revels in its history. He made me revel in it too!
on 10 May 1999
I was looking for a good, concise history of London, similar to the Traveller's History of France that I had read and highly recommend. Instead, I found a rambling discourse on unconnected events, vaguely arranged in chronological order. It seems to assume the reader already has a detailed knowledge of London history in general, and British history in particular. Events are referred to in passing without explaining their historical consequences or significance. DY