INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY
'Charming . . . Concretopia could pleasingly be read by anyone in Britain who lives in a postwar Modernist structure and has a love-hate relationship with it. Part-travelogue, part-history, Grindrod's account walks us through in touchingly precise detail the decisions that led to such buildings as the BT Tower, the Barbican, Coventry Cathedral and the blocks of New Ash . . . We don't think of architectural beauty as key to well-being and yet, as this book shows us, it profoundly is.'
ALAIN DE BOTTON, THE TIMES
'Fascinating throughout ... does a magnificent job of making historical sense of things I had never really understood or appreciated ... This is a brilliant book: a vital vade mecum for anyone (not just students of architecture and town planning) interested in Britain's 20th-century history'
James Hamilton-Paterson, author of EMPIRE OF THE CLOUDS
'Fascinating . . . it's all here, from the Poulson scandal to abandoned ring-roads and vanishing industry . . . A great insight into the way things turned out the way they did.'
'Timely and pertinent . . . Grindrod is inventive with words and frequently alights on delightful and perceptive images . . . Particularly fascinating are chapters on the rebuilding of Coventry; the development of the South Bank; the creation of the Barbican (using concrete expensively pitted by hand using pickaxes); the replacement of the Glasgow Gorbals with new estates; the hilltop city that is Park Hill, Sheffield, recently renovated; the sad demise of low-rise, family-friendly 'Span' housing; the devastating 1968 collapse of the system-built tower block, Ronan Point; and the the tale of architect-developer John Poulson, who went to jail for corruption over building contracts.'
'Never has a trip from Croydon and back again been so fascinating. John Grindrod's witty and informative tour of Britain is a total treat, and will win new converts to stare in awe (or at least enlightened comprehension) at Crap towns and Boring Postcards...'
CATHERINE CROFT, Director, Twentieth Century Society
'With a cast of often unsung heroes -- and one or two villains -- Concretopia is a lively, surprising account of how Britain came to look the way it does'
Will Wiles, author of CARE OF WOODEN FLOORS
'From the Norfolk birthplace of Brutalism and the once-Blitzed city centre of Plymouth, to the New Towns of Cumbernauld and Sheffield's streets in the sky, a most engaging, illustrated exploration of how crumbling austerity Britain was transformed into a space-age world of concrete, steel and glass.'
'A powerful and personal history of postwar Britain. Grindrod shows how pre-fab housing, masterplans, and tower blocks are as much part of our national story as Tudorbethan suburbs and floral clocks. It's like eavesdropping into a conversation between John Betjeman, J.G. Ballard and Jonathan Meades.'
LEO HOLLIS, author of CITIES ARE GOOD FOR YOU --...