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on 29 July 2017
This little book is very informative and well researched. Written in a lively style and injected with a humour I particularly enjoyed
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on 28 June 2017
Great product and brilliant service
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on 11 December 2017
Fascinating book, a mixture of fact and fable. Some shocking parts, they were so cruel in the past.
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on 18 November 2017
Bought upon the recommendation of an employee of one of the Edinburgh tours. Sadly it contains far less history than ghost stories and even these are mediocre. I am thoroughly glad that I acquired the kindle version so I do not have to look at its physical form.
The history contained is more to do with conditions about ground than the construction and usage of the South Bridge vaults and assorted underground tunnels, vaults and lodgings beneath Edinburgh's old own.
The second part of the book focuses entirely on supposed ghost stories and paranormal experiences which have occurred within the vaults. With no eyewitness accounts, all accounts appear to be third hand at the very least. You can practically hear the tour guides word for word as the book progresses. The one story regarding the coven of witches actually has 3 different versions which united give the true story - only one version present.
An overall disappointing read with some vaguely interesting snippets
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on 15 August 2015
I had this book a number of years ago after a trip to Edinburgh and despite dipping into it, I never read it from cover to cover, like so many books languishing on my shelves but after a visit to the festival just last week - and another spooky trip under the south bridge courtesy of the 'Auld Reekie' ghost tours my interest was piqued again, so I repurchased this slim book which seems fairly ubiquitous in all the city's book shops on local history.
It's a short read of two halves, the first focusing on the grisly housing that developed in the city outside of the environs of the castle walls from more or less the 16th century onwards and was not so much a twilight world for these inhabitants, more of a completely pitch black one (and if you have been into the south bridge chambers you'll know exactly what I mean). Did ever a city that has such an attractive exterior disguise such a dark subterranean interior - discuss. And so to the second part which is devoted to many of the supernatural sightings and inhabitants that were once part of this topography (or maybe belowography?). Many of these ghostly occurances seemed to have reached a zenith in the '90s, when a lot of the underground city had been fully exposed and exploited for the burgeoning tourist trade. Whatever the case some of these still sent a shiver down the spine and this is one city that even during the festival month of August where the undead may be just as noisy and prolfic as as all those comedians on display.
Oh a couple of other points; the chapter on William McGonagall is an amusingly sunny interlude in the gloom and the black and white illustrations of many of the prominent city landmarks (mostly from the 18th and 19th centuries but often not stated) show how the capital has remained intact. No wonder the undead are reluctant to vacate.
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on 22 November 2016
I bought this book initially for my own enjoyment when I moved to Edinburgh a couple of months ago. However, after opting to do a module on Edinburgh History at UoE alongside my languages degree, this little book became more useful than I ever imagined when I first bought it. The writer covers so much more than simply the cliché ghost stories and folktales, but actually covers a detailed, intellectual era of Edinburgh's history in order to fully contextualise where the rumours of the Underground came from and what truth there is in them. It is written in a very succinct, appealing way which makes it much more of a page-turner than most non-fiction history books. It is brilliant for anyone needing information on the military, economic, building and social factors in Edinburgh's development. There are also fascinating stories and accounts of the past lifestyles of Edinburgh's poorest inhabitants. Not all of it is an academic goldmine, of course, because it isn't meant to be, but I was shocked by what a brilliant reference book it made for a couple of my essays.
Whether you are looking for a book for enjoyment or to help with your studies, I would highly recommend The Town Below The Ground.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 January 2010
Have really enjoyed reading this. The book is split into 2 parts, the first part talking about the history of Edinburgh, and it's evolution over the years.
The second part then recounts the various legends and ghost stories from the Underground city over the years.

I found the book really interesting. The history was particularly interesting, but this was where the main failing of the book was. There really needs to be more detail in this section. Too many chapters end - but nobody really knows...
There could've been far more detective work and detail in the first section.

The second section is perhaps a bit silly, but does well cover various ghost stories, and I go some chills while reading it.

All in all, a very interesting book, that could do with a bit more factual input, and a bit less hearsay - but overall a very enjoyable read.
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on 20 February 2011
The book starts out with a lot of promise but unfortunately it is extremely skin deep in historical fact and tends to dwell in the realms of fiction. Like many of the Edinburgh tours of the same attractions it goes for cheap ghost thrills and sensationalism. That isnt to say that it doesnt have its merits and as an introduction to the subject it is easy reading.
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on 14 November 2013
I've chosen this rating as I was disappointed with the content of this - it was all a bit vague with little proper history or detail, almost written for early teens perhaps ?
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on 3 December 2009
Despite being English I like Edinburgh and visit when I can so when I saw this book advertised my curiosity was suitable aroused, but what a disappointment!
I was expecting an authoritative account of the history of the 'underground city' with plans, excavations, etc., but the factual content is brief and superficially presented, almost as if the author is in a hurry to get to the ghostly tales and fables in the second half of the book.
Grammatical inaccuracies apart (what is 'molten timber' (p29)?) the book is written in an informal narrative style reminiscent of the tour guides working in the city and may properly be thought of as a 'pocket guide', but lacks too much to be a serious study.
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