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Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube [Hardcover]

Andrew Martin
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
RRP: 14.99
Price: 12.67 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Book Description

26 April 2012
Why is the Victoria Line so hot? What is an Electrical Multiple Unit? Is it really possible to ride from Kings Cross to Kings Cross on the Circle line?The London Underground is the oldest, most sprawling and illogical metropolitan transport system in the world, the result of a series of botch-jobs and improvisations.Yet it transports over one billion passengers every year - and this figure is rising. It is iconic, recognised the world over, and loved and despised by Londoners in equal measure. Blending reportage, humour and personal encounters, Andrew Martin embarks on a wonderfully engaging social history of London's underground railway system (which despite its name, is in fact fifty five per cent overground). Along the way he attempts to untangle the mess that is the Northern Line, visit every station in a single day - and find out which gaps to be especially mindful of. Underground, Overground is a highly enjoyable, witty and informative history of everything you need to know about the Tube.

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Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube + Do Not Alight Here: Walking London's Lost Underground and Railway Stations
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (26 April 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1846684773
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846684777
  • Product Dimensions: 14.4 x 22.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 148,087 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Andrew Martin grew up in Yorkshire. After qualifying as a barrister, he won The Spectator Young Writer of the Year Award, 1988. Since, he has written for The Guardian, the Daily and Sunday Telegraph, the Independent and Granta, among many other publications. His columns have appeared in the Independent on Sunday and the New Statesman. His Jim Stringer novels - railway thrillers - have been published by Faber and Faber since 2002.

Product Description


'Martin is the Laureate of the Underground ... he has an acute eye for detail, and tempers his own knowledge with a dry humour. Unlike many funny writers, he is both affectionate and alert to nuance ... you emerge from this book as though from the Underground itself, blinking into the sunlight as you bid farewell to its peculiar, parallel universe, a place where, as Martin says, it always seems to be evening ... it wouldn t be surprising if the next pigeon he spots on the Tube was bent over a copy of his fascinating book, saying 'Coo!'' --Mail on Sunday

'A deeply pleasurable history of the London tube. Martin has all the history at his fingertips' --Prospect

'So dense with fascinating facts that a Londoner can dip in it at almost any point and get a new insight to enrich their experience of the city... a fine tribute to the tube' --Time Out

'The best introduction to the tube ... I missed my stop on three separate occasions when engrossed in this readable and very funny history ... Mr Martin is the perfect guide' --Country Life

'Martin's witty tome is as entertaining as its subject is frustrating and, perhaps surprisingly, liable to induce sympathy for the poor sods who run the ever teetering service' --Word

'A deeply pleasurable history of the London tube. Martin has all the history at his fingertips' --Prospect

'So dense with fascinating facts that a Londoner can dip in it at almost any point and get a new insight to enrich their experience of the city... a fine tribute to the tube' --Time Out

Book Description

An entertaining and enlightening social history of the world's most famous underground railway

Inside This Book (Learn More)
Browse Sample Pages
Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars better as a personal reflection than a history 24 May 2012
By gerryg VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's alway going to be difficult to beat in-depth nerdism such as one might find from capo-di-capo Christian Wolmar and The Subterranean Railway: How the London Underground Was Built and How it Changed the City Forever but what I liked about this book is the anecdote and affection, together with a little more about the personalities and the politics.

I didn't appreciate (but on reflection wasn't surprised) that Harry Beck, the pioneering tube map designer had a face that didn't fit and his contribution was only recognised years later. I also thought the discussion of the lost property office interesting (yes, I've been there...). And his description of Northern Line islands together with the speculation as to why people don't fall off the edge during the rush hour (I've been there and there too) are just some of the charming stories that keep this well written personal reflection moving forward. A tiny criticism, knowing Temple very well, and the map to which he refers, which is so faded and insignificantly positioned, I would think one could stand there a long time before observing anyone having noticing it let alone becoming confused by it.

I enjoyed reading that just as documented in The Bus We Loved: London's Affair with the Routemaster that there was no such thing as a standard Routemaster because of continual tinkering with the design, there was no such thing as the standard tube train.

Other reviewers have criticised the lack of a tube map, I wasn't sure I understood this.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition
The attractive cover drew me to this book, and the reviewers quoted inside who described it as sparky (Sunday Telegraph), engaging (Observer), jaunty (Sunday Times), fascinating (Time Out) and very funny (Country Life) persuaded me to buy it. Just the thing to see me through a long train journey, I thought, and very appropriate for one which started with a tube trip across London.
I wasn't expecting thrills and romance, but I don't think I was being unreasonable in hoping to be entertained. It was billed as a personal memoir of one man's lifelong obsession with and love for the tube, after all: at the very least I expected a lively social history peppered with some engaging anecdotes. But I'm afraid I found it deadly dull - and, having nothing else to read, I was stuck with it for the next four hours!
It fails because it falls between two stools: it's far too meandering and stodgy to entertain, yet it's not authoritative enough to satisfy historians or train nerds (and other reviewers have pointed out a lot of inaccuracies).
The icing on the cake is the lack of good illustrations - and whoever thought that there was any point to publishing a book like this without a series of maps to illustrate the subject should be sacked. Or was it a question of reproduction rights? Because the author talks at length about the unique design of the underground roundel and that doesn't appear, either.
But it is nicely written, and it's probably one of those books that it's better to dip into rather than just read through. So you might want to give it a try - but use a tube map as a bookmark, as I did, otherwise you'll find it a very frustrating read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No maps! 4 Sep 2012
Without historical and current maps this is a very difficult history to follow. I'm baffled by their exclusion. Could have been so much better.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great book but why no maps? 12 May 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I loved this book but was a bit disappointed by the lack of explanatory maps, as new lines were discussed and brought into the book.

Andrew Martin has an easy writing style but I found I had to keep stopping to look at a map of London to try and work out some of the points he was trying to bring across.

A few more pictures would also have helped but a worthwhile read nevertheless.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting stuff! 29 July 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This was a detailed history of the different tube lines with many personal anecdotes to enliven the story.

It us a great book for anyone interested in transport or London.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A book that covers the history of the London underground system without being boring.

Lots of interesting snippets of information and background stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant history 24 Jun 2013
By Mhairi
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
A must if you've ever tralled on the underground. A fascinating history of the confusing and muddled origins of what is now a highly organised machine.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Move over Mr Selfridge 3 Jun 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Well this is a fascinating read, full of facts and personalities. Perhaps a little hard work for the layman, this book reveals the story of the construction of each of the lines that have become known collectively as the London UndergrounD

I didn’t realise how many different colourful individuals were involved a hundred years or so ago in the construction of London’s subterranean transport. This book gives an interesting insight into their characters and feuds which had such a strong effect on the system we have today. Thie story continues well into the 20th century as other visionaries weld the various lines into a railway that we all accept works ( most of the time ) despite all the difficulties experienced along the way

Don’t expect to get through this in a couple of hours………..
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, excellent service
Funny and fascinating at the same time, it is recommended to all London lovers! Available for a very convenient price (I bought it new at 0.99), and to be dispatched quickly.
Published 20 days ago by Federica Accorsi
5.0 out of 5 stars Railman
First of all I have to say lucky so and so, it was most boys' dream in my era to have access to free First class rail travel and free Underground tickets. Read more
Published 1 month ago by cairns
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent volume!
This is a very chatty and humorous telling of the history of the Tube, with some personal musings of the author thrown in for good measure! Read more
Published 2 months ago by S M DIX
4.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Martin
This was bought for a present so I can only go on the person who received it was delighted with it as he is an Andrew Martin fan.
Published 2 months ago by Mrs C
5.0 out of 5 stars Easy Read History of the Underground
This book is not a blow by blow detailed history of the London Underground and anyone looking for such a book should read Christian Wolmar's 'Subterranean Railway' However I found... Read more
Published 3 months ago by Suebecca
5.0 out of 5 stars Minding the Gap
"I visited the (East London) line shortly after it re-opened, noting that the refurbishment had done nothing to eliminate the brackish stink of the Thames at Wapping or the... Read more
Published 4 months ago by Joseph Haschka
5.0 out of 5 stars Four or five stars, easily
Good read, not for absolute perfect details, but a great sense of how the tube began and developed and became an institution. A light read but a good one.
Published 5 months ago by L. P. Lewzey
4.0 out of 5 stars Andrew Martin
I bought this book for my husband. He found it very interesting and would recommend it. It was reasonably priced too.
Published 8 months ago by Elisabeth
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