Customer Reviews


44 Reviews
5 star:
 (25)
4 star:
 (13)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:
 (5)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and Intelligent Book
This excellent and intelligent book charts the history of the London Underground from the early 1870s until the present day. Naturally the period of early development and expansion up to the establishment of Herbert Morrison's London Transport in 1933 is given most space with the Victoria Line and Jubilee Extension being briefly covered. The building of the cut and cover...
Published on 17 Nov 2007 by Dr. R. Brandon

versus
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Read, The Pace Ambles and shoots forward like the tube!
Amazing Read, The Pace Ambles and shoots forward like the tube leaving the station. From the beginnings to rapid expansions and integration from the past to today and beyond.

The history of the London Underground is told in rich story. Thought the plans and people and not facts, stats and figures. The role the metro played in the development of London, movement...
Published on 13 Jan 2011 by Brace, Brace, Brace


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

45 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Interesting and Intelligent Book, 17 Nov 2007
By 
Dr. R. Brandon (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This excellent and intelligent book charts the history of the London Underground from the early 1870s until the present day. Naturally the period of early development and expansion up to the establishment of Herbert Morrison's London Transport in 1933 is given most space with the Victoria Line and Jubilee Extension being briefly covered. The building of the cut and cover Metropolitan and the District Railway and the intense rivalry of their respective chairmen Edward Watkin and James Forbes is most interesting. The simultaneous relating of the story of the deep line electric railways, the technological developments and the always interesting roles of the great characters and engineers involved is the strength and pleasure of this book. The complex story is related with a speed and clarity that gives the feeling of excitement and wonder that must have existed at the time. The contribution of American technology brought over by Charles Yerkes, the station designs of Leslie Green and the later Art Deco of Charles Holden, the administrative genius of Ashfield and Frank Pick who between them formed the look of the Underground system that we now take for granted as 'naturally' correct, are all covered with immense flair in this excellent book. Read this and then rush to buy Wolmar's 'Fire and Steam'.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


33 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Creating The Gap of "Mind the Gap!", 24 Nov 2008
By 
Joseph Haschka (Glendale, CA USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)   
"The District (Line) ... attracted considerable negative (press) coverage with various mechanical failures and, in particular, its primitive air-operated doors which apparently had a tendency to tear off ladies' skirts, something particularly shocking to the Edwardian psyche." - from THE SUBTERRANEAN RAILWAY

Disclaimer: If you've never visited London and/or fallen in love with the Underground, or at least have no interest in how such mass transportation evolves, then you're likely to find THE SUBTERRANEAN RAILWAY excruciatingly boring. So, as is advised at the stations, just "pass along the platform", so to speak.

Having had the good fortune to enjoy Britain's capital many times, I've found the Tube to be both indispensable and an inseparable adjunct to any visit. Thus, for me, Christian Wolmar's volume about the evolution of this below-ground railway, from its inception in the mind of visionary Charles Pearson in the first half of the 19th century to the present day, was as enthralling as any couldn't-put-it-down thriller. OK, so I need to get a life.

THE SUBTERRANEAN RAILWAY includes two sections of black and white illustrations and photographs of the Underground both then and now, but mostly then. There's also a color section that comprises two route maps of the system from the early 20th century that are geographically correct - something I've never seen before - plus the more familiar schematic rendering of the network conceived by Harry Beck in 1931 and based on an electric circuit diagram. The version of the latter, current as of about 2006, spreads over two pages. Unfortunately the central fold of the volume rests squarely on the route of the Northern Line from Camden Town to Kennington and several stations are lost in the crease. Nevermind, I just pulled out my London Street Atlas to get my bearings. One thing Wolmar left unexplained, though, is the odd side-loop from Leytonstone to Woodford via Fairlop that the Central line takes near its eastern terminus. What's that all about? (The unredeemably curious must consult Wikipedia.)

The narrative focuses mainly on the construction, expansion and consolidation of the various lines - all originally under separate, private ownership - beginning with the opening of the Metropolitan on January 9, 1863 to the formation of the London Passenger Transport Board in the 1930s. The competition between the lines sometimes went to absurd length, e.g. the dispute between the Metropolitan and District over a siding at South Kensington, as reported in the West London Advertiser:

"The District ... have run and engine and train into a siding and have actually chained it to the spot ... A day or two ago, the Metropolitan sent three engines to pull away the train and a tug of war ensued in which the chained train came off the victor ..."

As a Yank, I was impressed by the hitherto unknown (to me) fact of the enormous influence U.S. entrepreneurship and money had on the final form of the Underground as we know it today. (Bleedin' Americans, "overpaid, overfed, oversexed and over here.") Well, you must admit that America's contribution was more substantive and useful than McDonalds.

Having finished THE SUBTERRANEAN RAILWAY, I'm inspired to contemplate further excesses, such as to go back to London, Travelcard in hand, and ride each of the thirteen lines from one end to the other visiting all 268 stations. Ah, now that would be a once-in-a-lifetime adventure!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


91 of 93 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining and revealing slice of London history, 3 July 2005
This book deserves to be enjoyed well outside trainspotting or railway enthusiast circles. Charting the foundation and growth of one history's boldest engineering projects, it is full of fascinating revelations about London, its people, its politics, its demands and its ever-increasing needs. That sense of a secret world beneath our feet was never conveyed better. I read much of this book while travelling on the Underground itself, and emerged a good deal more appreciative of the visionary men who built it. Perhaps more commuters should do the same!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wolmar takes you down under., 3 April 2008
By 
Daniel Storey "Book_Worm_Daniel" (Rochester, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Christian Wolmar is a journalist who happens to have an interest in trains and this is one of many books he has written on the subject over the last 10 years.
Subterranean Railway focuses on the London Underground and how it grew to what we travel on today in our millions year on year.
Now personally I can just about tolerate the Underground in off peak times but when it comes to the peak hours it has to been one of the worse traveling experiences known to man or woman.
So with that in mind this book made me sit up and take notice of what a great feat on engineering the London Underground really is and still remains, the photo of Piccadilly Circus in chapter thirteen illustrates this point very well indeed.
In Chapters 1 to 13 Christian takes you on a journey from the Underground's construction during the 1850's and the subjacent creation of the first underground line the Metropolitan, then he goes on to explain the building and politics behind all the lines and finishes this part of the book with the story behind the creation of what is know as Metroland or to use another term, suburban London.
In Chapter 14 Christian goes onto explain the use of the underground during the war years and how it helped save many lives during the German bombing raids.
The London Underground is not without its problems by any means and in the last chapter Christian briefly explains why a lack of investment since the 1960's lead to a sad decline which was only turned around after the Kings Cross fire in the 1987.
Christian has done his research and because of this his book introduces and brings alive in your mind all the people that have played their part in the history of the Underground.
The reason I give this book a 4 star rating and not a 5 is I don't think there is enough pictures to compliment the Underground's early history and it can be sometimes hard to image what the old coaches and carriages use to look and feel like in them early years.
The book won't change your journey experience on the Underground but it will help you to appreciate and be proud of it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars surprisingly fascinating and readable history, 5 Jan 2008
By 
R. J. Brady "madandbad" (wallington, surrey United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Well researched lively and interesting history of the World's oldest and
most respected underground railway.
What amazing people the Victorians were in their vision and their incredible technological bravura.Also the many thousands of workers who built and ran the line are given due acknowledgement.
A great read.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended, thoroughly interesting read!, 23 Dec 2004
Although there are many Underground histories, Christian Wolmar's Subterranean Railway brings it across in a very digestible and gripping read. Wolmar takes an interesting perspective, focusing on the social aspect of the Underground and the benefits it brought London, as well as recognising those great characters that gave the capital the pioneering Subterranean Railway.
A well recommended read by anyone with an interest in the railways, or indeed by ordinary commuters alike!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A compelling account of a masterful creation, 22 Mar 2008
By 
This book looks at the creation of the underground from all angles: political, technical, social - and is interesting throughout. The author's sense of humour and well chosen quotes brings a sense of reverie to the experience, as one imagines what it must have been like at the beginning, and in comparison to the present day. It's nice to see a book which really underlines what a remarkable achievement the London Underground, was how important a creation it has proved to be.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Travelling to Burnt Oak, 18 Nov 2007
By 
Lewis Graham "lewisgraham" (East Anglia) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
Christian Wolmar has produced an excellent book with a fair sprinkling of characters, politics and high finance. Anyone who is seen to take the underground for granted should be handed a copy of this book to learn just how remarkable a thing it is. Similarly, as a history of the underground, this is an excellent start.

The only disappointment is the brevity of coverage of events post 1945. The building of the Victoria and Jubilee lines are covered, but nowhere to the depth of earlier lines. Some discussion of how these lines came about would have been an interesting study in allowing politicians to run a railway.

But such criticisms are small compared to a book on railways that doesn't require an anorak to enjoy.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why do they do that?, 8 Dec 2009
By 
D. J. Foster (Sevenoaks, Kent) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Having worked on LU projects for several years, my natural interest in industrial archeology always brings up the questions - why have such old-fashioned procedures for getting work done, why don't they invest in it properly instead of trying to make it commercial and so on. In this book, Christian Wolmar goes through the history, the squabbles, the old insistence that the state can do nothing for it in a detailed and sympathetic way.
Far from being a dry diary of events, the real "live" background that prompted people and organisations to behave as they did is brought through, explaining the real facts of history as it affects us now.
It appears to me that Wolmar did the research for this book whilst writing Down the Tube - he had to answer all the why questions; that is my guess as this book came out after, but I decided to start in time sequence with this one.
If you are at all interested in why you are on the cramped, badly ventilated, noisy and old-fashioned London Underground, then this is your book. There's also lots more on railways, engineering, finance, social history and industrial archeology; and I get the impression that Mr Wolmar likes it?
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Underground, Overground, 28 July 2009
This is an excellent book. Mr Wolmar has the knack of presenting this important history in such a manner that the people and events seem to be real and current. There is nothing missed, from the efforts of the early pioneers to the (apparent) falling of scales from the eyes of 21st Century administrators. And it's all readable! The system began in 1864 and is still in full use today, so if you are inquisitive enough to want to how and why, buy this book and read all about it.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 25 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Only search this product's reviews