This book was - and is - superb. It tells the story of how London transitioned from being a large town with an aglomeration of villages around it to be a cohesive - if disparate - whole. The world's first super-city.
It's all here. The building of the railways, paving over the rivers, untrammelled speculative building, dealing with the slums, London at war, the underground, how the Victorian, Edwardian and 20th century suburbs were built. It's a great read for anyone who has ever wondered how it all came to be or those who (like me) feel at once impressed and repelled by the idea of so many millions people in such a comparatively small area.
It was, of course, accompanied in the mid 1980s by a Thames TV series of the same name (possibly that even came first) - which was truly excellent and of which I still have one episode (captured at the time on VHS and later transferred to DVD in all its wobbly glory!). That show still fascinates me and I get it out to watch every now and again, my copy may be poor quality technically, but it's documentary making par excellence. Its a absolute crime that the series has never been reissued. I think Freemantle media now owns the Thames library - so how about it guys?