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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars better as a personal reflection than a history
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...
Published 23 months ago by gerryg

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the book I expected - and hard to read without a tube map
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...
Published 1 month ago by Bookwoman


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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 - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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This review is from: Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube (Hardcover)
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. It's not as if one can't whip up a tube map fairly quickly and luckily with other nerd-fests out there you can choose from a range of historical versions.

It's part of the quirky canon of books about London and its transport including Do Not Alight Here: Walking London's Lost Underground and Railway Stations and Last Stop!.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not the book I expected - and hard to read without a tube map, 4 Mar 2014
By 
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
By 
Mr. R. M. Morris (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube (Hardcover)
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
By 
Albatross (Basingstoke,UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube (Hardcover)
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
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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
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating back story to the history of the Underground, 28 Jun 2013
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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
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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
By 
T. O'CONNOR (S France) - See all my reviews
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Passenger's Personal Underground Journey and History, 21 Mar 2013
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This is a most entertaining and personal account of the Underground which celebrated its 150th anniversary this year. Andrew Martin states that the Tube should strictly be used as the name for the lines that are on average 40 feet below the surface and that the lines just below the surface are 'cut and cover' lines. Another key fact is that 55 per cent of the Underground is on the surface.
The oddities and eccentricities of the oldest metropolitan transport system in the world are covered and as it transports over a billiion passengers every year, it fully deserves such an engaging book.
The book is written chronologically and its only obvious failing is its lack of maps. It covers everything from Opening to Oyster Cards and is a witty and compelling social history of a transport phenomenon.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The joy of the Underground, 13 Aug 2012
By 
David Andrew "dmadavidandrew" (Shropshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube (Hardcover)
You have to be fair to this book - it doesn't really set out to be a comprehensive history of the system. that said, it does pretty well, looking chronologically at how it was all put together, and giving a few hints as to how it might develop in the future.

The compelling things about this book are the quality of writing, which is both entertaining and excellent, and the engagement with the subject. It's simply a really good, interesting read, sometimes a little colloquial but also scholarly.

There's just one this wrong with it - no maps. I think that Andrew Martin just knows the system so well that he doesn't need a map himself, but it would have been useful to be able to look at one while reading. that said, it's easy these days to download one, so I would suggest that if you buy this book then you do just that!
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Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube
Underground, Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube by Andrew Martin (Hardcover - 26 April 2012)
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