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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars London's Strange Tales:By Tom Quinn, 14 Nov. 2012
This review is from: London's Strangest Tales (Paperback)
This book is a delightful read. Its full title is - 'For Your Reading Pleasure, London's Strangest Tales, Extraordinary But True Stories.' It forms a volume in the 'Strangest' series also published by Portico. The author - Tom Quinn - has compiled chapters that span a thousand years of London history. The chapters work forward in chronological order, starting from 950 CE and culminating in 2007.

The 2007 paperback edition contains 378 numbered pages, and is comprised of an Introduction and 178 short chapters. Each chapter is comprised of 1 to 3 pages and covers an interesting and important aspect of the history of London. As a book, the combined effect of the many chapters is that a developmental history is presented to the reader in snap-shot format that is surprising coherent and detailed. Quinn's style of writing is highly engaging, intelligent, insightful, and humourous. An examples of chapters are as follows:

Why Part of Scotland is in London (950)
Put Out Your Fire (1066)
Human Lavatory (1190)
The Queen's Bosom on Show((1597)
Cockney Maori Chief (1776)
Eighteenth-Century Viagra (1779)
Trains Only for the Dead (1854)
How Crime Became Art (1995)

The short chapter presentation often disguises the fact that this is a work of great research that has probably involved the author visiting many of the buildings, open spaces, strange objects, monuments, and graveyards that he writes about. The writing style takes the reader through the streets of London within a time-travelling extravaganza!
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