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4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5 stars
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VINE VOICEon 20 July 2010
Jerry White's London In The Twentieth Century is a remarkable book full of statistics and memories. The book is neatly divided up into sections and then the sections divided up into periods of time. This must have been an exhaustive event to undertake and can be proven by the two sections at the back of the book entitled Notes To Pages and Bibliography - these two sections alone take up nearly 100 pages of the book and proves the extensive research Jerry White took to write his book - and then 20 pages are devoted to the index!
The text of the book is very absorbing, beautifully describing London at any given point in time, from the turn of the century to the Millennium. Anybody living or brought up in London at that time will be able to appreciate the unfolding events described, whether, for example, it is the building of roads to link the small towns, the introduction of the north and south circular roads or even the laying down of the orbital motorway or the fluctuation of crime between the two world wars, the introduction of 'muggings' and the birth of the Teds and violence of the skinhead movement. Everything seems to be covered in the text, from markets and stores to finance and politics to crime and the police force to yuppies and council estates to immigration to emigration. Just reading a section brings back floods of memories, (personally) some good and some unpleasant but a delight all the same.
The book also includes some black and white plates, including the famous photograph of Winston Churchill at the siege of Sidney Street (1911) - well before my time! - and the Brixton Riots (1981) - which I remember driving through on my way to a night out in London!
Definitely...GREAT STUFF!
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on 24 September 2009
Alongside his companion volume London in the nineteenth Century, this is a wonderful, easy to read biography of the city (without being over-simplified). For anyone who grew up in London - or arrived to fall in love with the city it is an excellent explanation and record of how our city developed. Historic decisions are contextualised within the history of the country more generally and you are helped to make links between social, Political, architectural changes.

He is working on the Eighteenth Century as I write. Can't wait!

PS You will become absorbed - a good holiday read, one chapter is never enough!
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on 27 September 2014
The story of London in the 20th century is intriguing.

The city expanded outwards, with a rush to create new suburbs and a population that reached its peak in 1939. The Second World War brought a dislocation, more office space for quite a while, then increased gentrification of the inner city districts.

Meanwhile the port first flourished with a newly created PLA dredging the river in the early years of the century, then folded, with better general transport links and then containerisation. Industry also flourished for many years, but then also fell victim to better transport links and more space elsewhere. Financial services in due course took up the slack, with tourism and creative industries in tow.

Meanwhile there were always changes to the London population with lots of people from the rest of the UK migrating early in the century, and later in the century immigration from the West Indies, Asia and Africa. The police service was pretty abysmal throughout the century.

Entertainment moved from the street at the start of the century to indoor ovations and a variety of venues but with Soho always prominent. Political life was fraught and both institutions and political parties waxed and waned over the period. I learned a lot I did not know about George Lansbury and Herbert Morrison though.

Strongly recommended.
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on 3 March 2011
As an adoptive Londoner, I loved this book and helped me to understand my city better. It's been a long time since I read it, but I really found it compulsive reading and even dragged it on the Tube despite it's doorstop size. I only came on here because I wanted to get a Kindle version of the his history of London in the 19th century, which sadly isn't available yet.
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on 28 December 2008
An excellent read focusing on the geography, people, economy and lifestyles that make London the great city that it is. Can tell that Jerry White won't have voted for Ken Livingstone in 2008!
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on 4 November 2015
Absolutely full of useful facts, which makes it tiresome to read in some chapters. Nevertheless very helpful for understanding the circumstances of your family.
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on 23 November 2015
A good read especially for Londoners. Loads of facts and references for further reading.
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on 19 December 2015
If you are interested in history and/or London this is a great book
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on 15 February 2016
Read book from before and wanted my own copy
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on 3 September 2014
Brilliant read, as all his books are.
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