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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book from a Nu-Labor toff.
This book is packed with stuff that informs and entertains. Hunt is a New Labour M.P. (which leeches through the text) and the young, aristocrat historian has produced a good account of the 19th century British city. I particularly like the stuff on the clash between the Goths and the Classicist architects and how it symbolised a deeper social malaise about...
Published on 9 Mar 2008 by Brim

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25 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched, but flawed, account of Victorian cities
Hunt, a university lecturer and government adviser, has written a considerable work, based on years of research, but flawed by its pro-Labour, anti-working class perspective. He quotes John Prescott, "We are all middle class" - true enough of Labour Ministers and their cronies.
But the world's first industries and the world's first industrial cities were built by the...
Published on 14 Aug 2004 by William Podmore


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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book from a Nu-Labor toff., 9 Mar 2008
By 
This review is from: Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City (Hardcover)
This book is packed with stuff that informs and entertains. Hunt is a New Labour M.P. (which leeches through the text) and the young, aristocrat historian has produced a good account of the 19th century British city. I particularly like the stuff on the clash between the Goths and the Classicist architects and how it symbolised a deeper social malaise about industrialisation.

A good companion book to AN Wilson's 'The Victorians' and Jerry Whites 'London in the 19th Century'.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good summary of the history of British cities, 14 April 2011
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Like the author, it's a bit New Labour, but he's knowledgeable and finds good examples and anecdotes to bring it to life. A nice corrective to be read alongside Lewis Mumford, who covers some of the same ground but comes to completely different conclusions. Mumford loves medieval cities and despises Victorian ones; and he likes Ebenezer Howard and the British New Towns of the post-war period. Hunt feels exactly the opposite.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Social History, 16 Feb 2014
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An excellent social history, just as relevant today, on a par with The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists, from a worthy author. A must read for social historians.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating account of the growth of large British cities, 10 Feb 2014
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Historians sometimes manage to give us a sense of "place" . Tristram Hunt does this magnificently with BUILDING JERUSALEM. In addition to providing carefully referenced hard facts he also writes about the more nebulous Saxon ethos of self government and the development of pride in one's own city (aided by rivalry to have the best architecture and a good cultural reputation) . Readers living in Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool or Glasgow will find it particularly enthralling. The book follows the improvement in living conditions from the time of squalor and typhus - Manchester features prominently in this as it did , of course, in Hunt's book about Friedrich Engels, THE FROCK-COATED COMMUNIST-to the age of town halls and art galleries with disturbing accounts of the ruthless measures employed to effect the changes.
A magnificent book, easy to read despite its length.
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22 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Great Read, 11 Jun 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City (Hardcover)
This is a fascinating book. Scholarly, well-written and full of surprising and entertaining stories. Hunt evokes life in Britain's great Victorian cities better than anyone else I've read. I loved it!
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25 of 44 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Well-researched, but flawed, account of Victorian cities, 14 Aug 2004
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William Podmore (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City (Hardcover)
Hunt, a university lecturer and government adviser, has written a considerable work, based on years of research, but flawed by its pro-Labour, anti-working class perspective. He quotes John Prescott, "We are all middle class" - true enough of Labour Ministers and their cronies.
But the world's first industries and the world's first industrial cities were built by the world's first working class. In this book, trade unions are almost invisible - a walk-on part when Manchester Town Hall opened in 1878, a demand for better conditions for Glasgow's tramworkers, but Hunt cannot see the working class's role in creating industry, only 'restrictive labour practices'.
He approves the Victorian economist James Mill's arrogant and idealist claim that the capitalist class contains 'the heads that invent, and the hands that execute' and 'the men who in fact think for the rest of the world'. The reactionary diatribes of Carlyle, Pugin and Ruskin, and the bourgeois triumphalism of a Macaulay, were equally idealist.
Too often, Victorian capitalists had prestige projects built, at the cost of urban development, putting palaces before people. Self-styled merchant princes, seeing themselves as the new Medici, romanced 'Saxon self-government' and smugly rejected planning for public health.
The Victorian ruling class saw London as the imperial city, with its irredeemable natives. Hunt sees people's moves to the suburbs and to garden cities as wilful failures to solve London's problems, and joins Betjeman, Orwell, Williams-Ellis and Priestley in snobbish hatred of the suburbs, despite acknowledging that many people do want to live there.
Hunt calls for a restoration of local democracy, noting that in the 1890s, Londoners elected 12,000 of their fellow-citizens to run hospitals, schools and transport; now 36,000 quangocrats decide for us. Successive governments' rate capping, surcharging and cash limits have weakened the 'innovative local government and civic pride' that Hunt celebrates, yet he ignores completely the biggest current threat to local (and national) democracy - Labour's EU-driven regionalisation policy.
He applauds the knowledge economy - though isn't all productive work knowledge-based? But we also need steel, ships, vehicles and clothes, which we should be producing ourselves, instead of relying on imported goods.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A third of the way through and enjoying, 13 Jan 2011
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Glyn White (London) - See all my reviews
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A book that suits the timeframe in history that I am looking for. A third of the way through and although initially had a slow time getting into Tristram Hunt's writing pattern after an Akcroyd am now atuned to his ways. Looks good so far.
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2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting topic, badly conveyed, 27 Nov 2007
I bought Hunt's book because I'm interested in urban history. However, I was assured by other readers that this was an accessable book. I found this not to be the case in fact. It's too academic, and I feel at times Hunt is grappling with confused arguments in his own head. Rather like thinking aloud, but rather awkwardly. Which is apt really, since this is a rather awkward book. However, others may find it a little more readable. 3 stars go largely to the introduction which I found the most interesting part of the whole book.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Lop-sided Treatment, 6 Jan 2010
At one level, Hunt has a rollicking, tabloid style that permits you to cover pages quickly, but the repetition and the superficiality soon starts to pall.

There is too much journalistic concentration upon personalities, and whilst the book is richly-researched too many quotations are lifted straight from classic ( or not so classic ) authors with minimal regard to context.

The usual suspects ( animate and techtonic ) are visited. No original thought, and few photographs. No plans, maps or other chorological content.

I did not detect the same left-wing bias that other reviewers have highlited: Indeed Dr Hunt is somewhat critical of New Labour and its shibboleths.

Many malapropisms.
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1 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars readings., 9 Oct 2009
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Ms. J. M. Harrison-hicks "saxonlady" (Peacehaven. UK) - See all my reviews
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I found it boring and hard to get into and gave up after a few pages. have tried again, but still do not like it, I think this is a type of book that you have to be in the right kind of mood to read. it is possibly full of depth which at present I do not want to read. will give it another go now the winter is coming and maybe I would have changed my mind by the time I have finished it.
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Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City by Tristram Hunt (Hardcover - 10 Jun 2004)
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