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4.4 out of 5 stars61
4.4 out of 5 stars
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on 16 October 2011
I think it's probably quite cruel to call someone a 'anorak' just because they are passionate about a subject, Christian Wolmar is certainly that, this book is extensively researched and extremely thorough from the first concept of building 'the tube' to financing it ,constructing it and it's evolution to what we know today, probably the last word on the subject.
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on 4 February 2013
Fantastic book - verry insightful

I have since let this book to my sister & brother who live in London and were interested in the history of the tube.

The only acomplaint i would have with this book is that once you got to the middle some of the pages came loose, which i suppose is really down to the copy i had rather than the book itself
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on 13 January 2011
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 of people and mass transit in the world of the world is clearly and explained.

Much has already been said here. I thought I already knew a fair about the London Underground but the history told here have a detailed story about its development that is not so well explained any where else.

Only through understanding the history can you really appreciated how lucky we are to have this transport network. Although trying to remember that when deep on the Bakerloo line mid summer close to fainting, it might be hard to forgive!

The main reason for this book not getting five starts is the total lack of images and diagrams. Much of these historical photos and maps are in the public domain, I don't understand why the author neglected to make use of these.

Oh and unlinke most tube trips this books is over way too soon.
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on 18 October 2013
This is the best type of accessible history by the best type of popular historian. Wolmar manages to tell you everything you want to know about the Underground without burying you in its technical, bureacratic and political complexities. It's obviously written by someone who loves London and loves the Underground, whatever its frustrations amd idiosyncracies. For me it solved several small mysteries; why is there a tiny little branch to Mill Hill East on the Northern line, why is Watford station on the edge of the town, why do I have to lug my suitcase from Euston Square to Euston? But it also cleared up one big mystery - who on earth had the courage and the vision to build a system of deep tunnels under one of the world's great cities to transport its people around, and how on earth did they do it? The book is a tribute to the amazing people who did just that, and those who keep the vision alive today. Great read.
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on 28 January 2015
Christian Wolmar knows his subject. The book is a lively enough and engaging read. A lot of the material has been published before (there is an extensive bibliography included), but this is a complete account of the building of the London Underground system as a whole. The reasons behind the first 'metro' - the jams of horse-drawn traffic and the associated problems, etc - are well described. The technical, financial and political problems encountered in building the London Underground, the successes and the failures are all detailed. Different methods of propulsion are described. There are also hints for the unscrupulous as to how to make money undertaking public infrastructure projects that are essentially loss-makers.
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on 28 September 2014
I bought this e-book to help me write an essay about the railway for a transport degree. It was a generally good read, very interesting in some places (for example, when explaining the development and construction of the Metropolitan line); however, it was also slow to move from one event to another, and I would occasionally find myself skipping through pages of superfluous information.

I think that this book was a useful and comprehensive guide to the underground and certainly hope it's helped me to write a decent essay (although I'm yet to receive my grade!) but think it is best suited to avid railway fans (of which I am not!) prepared to read page after page of detail.
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on 15 December 2011
Dry but insightful and a really thorough piece of research, this book is clearly by a man who knows his subject and delights in getting it down on paper. A good read, and a book which deserves serious attention.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 6 September 2011
Another well researched and laid out book from Christian Wolmar. This edition follows the entire history right up to 2004, but there is a further "follow on"volume relating the sometimes turbulent history that emerged later. The book has had many excellent reviews, deservedly so, and is a really good read. Everything is covered from planning to opening and the politics involved ,and the book is a wealth of facts but given across in an easily readable, easily assimilated way.I recommend this book to everyone as even if you have no interest in the Underground, it is still a good read.
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on 15 April 2009
I have never liked the underground, I am a clautrophobic country girl. But one thing I have learnt is that if you learn about what you fear you get over that fear. I always thought of the underground as an evil necessity. Not any more. Having read this book next time i go on the underground I will slow my pace and look around me, look for the clues of the underground of yesteryear and imagine what it was like with no ventilation and steam trains - YUCK!
This not only told me about the trains but the social side of London as well. Don't what to tell you more in case I spoil it!!
The only downside is that I don't know London that well so I am not certain where places are when they are mentioned, so a pullout map would have been good so I could visualise the development. I saw on amazon a book of maps over the history of the underground and perhaps that would be good to have on hand when reading the book.
Had there been a decent map I would have given it 5 stars!
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on 1 October 2010
It's the best book I've read about the london underground, now I understand a lot more about it and why the lines are set so akwardly!
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