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Edinburgh: A History of the City by [Fry, Michael]
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Edinburgh: A History of the City Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Length: 448 pages Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled Page Flip: Enabled

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Review

'Fry's range is impressive. His account of Edinburgh is in the style of Peter Ackroyd's history of London - digging into its dark corners rather than maintaining a historian's narrative'
-- Spectator

'This comprehensive look at his home city paints a vivid picture of the Scottish capital through the ages.'
-- Big Issue in Scotland

'intelligent and sensitive...a very good book indeed, one that no one who knows Edinburgh will want to be without, one that also reveals the character of this dramatic, admirable and often infuriating city to those unfortunate enough not to be acquainted with it.'
-- Literary Review

`He clearly loves Edinburgh and conveys that affection eloquently...Edinburgh is a delightful, erudite book and Fry a perceptive and provocative guide.'
-- Scotland on Sunday

`His account of the city's architectural history is as intelligent and sensitive as it is full.'
-- The Literary Review

Review

'Fry's range is impressive. His account of Edinburgh is in the style of Peter Ackroyd's history of London - digging into its dark corners rather than maintaining a historian's narrative'

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 4966 KB
  • Print Length: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Pan; Reprints edition (21 Mar. 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004T1P9LQ
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #104,673 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

Top customer reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Comprehensive and fairly readable.
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Format: Paperback
I could forgive the leaden prose and back and forth through time effect of this book if an overall impression of Edinburgh had been achieved. Sadly, it was not. The author makes the assumption that his status as an outsider confers a special remove from which he can impartially relate a history of the city, and perhaps more ambitiously, of Scotland. Instead, it left this reader with the impression that he forgot to visit Edinburgh while studying other people's accounts of it. This author also relied on some very tired racial stereotypes of the Scots which is not at all endearing. Edinburgh is a deeply impressive place visually and historically. Its story is stuffed full of fascinating characters, not all of them world famous. In summary: the well-known characters he describes utterly fail to come to life and the city he places them in is no more than a backdrop.
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Format: Paperback
I was looking forward to reading a vivid account of this exciting city. I was extremely disappointed at how hard it is to read. I found it dry and stilted; too much parenthesis within sentences for example. I am trying to get to the end of it but it is hard work.

I can't really recommend it .
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Format: Paperback
Two stars feels harsh. This history of Scotland's capital isn't terrible. But we're asked here to judge a book by how much we "like" it. And while Michael Fry's vast knowledge of Edinburgh is certainly impressive, I can't claim to have enjoyed the way he shares it with us.

There's just too much going on. We're bombarded by facts. All Scotland's big hitters feature: Robert the Bruce, John Knox, Mary Queen of Scots, King James VI. Key figures like David Hume, the philosopher, and James Hutton, the "father of geology", make an appearance. But while quotes and anecdotes from every possible era of Edinburgh's history abound, too much of it is dealt with briskly, and too little of it comes to life. The result is a slog. I found it all a bit hard going; at times, very hard going.

"A very fine book and a considerable achievement," runs a quote on the back of my copy. I guess that's fair, up to a point. "Edinburgh" is thorough, wide-ranging and well-researched. But it's not particularly well written. It's not particularly memorable. And for this newcomer to Scottish history, at least, reading it wasn't much fun.
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Format: Hardcover
A thorough and wide-ranging survey of the city, that avoids the usual urban history traps. Fry does not focus on the city's architecture, for instance, though he discusses it in its context; nor is this a municipal history, although the City Council's development and influence get their due throughout. The book is well written and generally pacy, and does not shy away from the more difficult, undocumented early history of the city, although this era is, inevitably perhaps, more a Scottish than a city history. The role of the city as a backdrop for the later Stuart history and the Jacobite era is particularly well written, covering the ground without retelling the well-worn and hackneyed tales, and providing new, and distinctively Edinburgh, dimensions to these upheavals. This is a good, well-structured and non-pedestrian history, make no mistake. Whilst retaining a broad chronological structure, the discussion is not rigidly linear and Fry moves backwards as well as forwards in his chapters, to good effect, if at times keeping the reader on edge wondering when this or that topic will ever be raised!

Any city history has to be selective, though, especially as municipality develops and record keeping becomes more through and more reliable, and it may be churlish to criticise Fry for doing what any historian has to do. Yet there are some significant omissions from this discussion. The focus is very much on the city centre, and although suburban development is mentioned en passant the suburban geography is not discussed at all.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A well-written book with very interesting facts about my favourite place. There is a lot of history, which I love; the places and sights are described in historical context. I have never read a better book about this city. There are no maps and also not many pictures, but you do not buy this book to see pictures, do you?
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Format: Hardcover
I have the following comments to make about this book.
1.The author claims(page ix)there has been no recent history of Edinburgh-I suggest he reads Alan Massies "Edinburgh" for a superior volume.
2.The author states Scots is spoken in Edinburgh-in my 80+ years I have heard the odd Scotts word but never a Scotts conversation.
3.There is no bibliography which for a book such as this is essential if it is not to loose all credibility.
4.There are no maps or timeline which makes the book deficient.
5 The 7 chapters, with odd titles, that I have never heard Edinburgh being so described as include -city of fire and light,precipitous city,perilous city,city of everywhere and city of refugees.This is just nonsense.
Not a book to be vrecommended.
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