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From West to East.
on 26 August 2014
This book examines how a whole range of “social indicators” – such as life expectancy and GCSE results – vary as you travel along London’s central line.
This is a rail line that runs in an arc from West to East through London. Taken as a (presumably mythical) journey over a single day, the aspects of life that vary along the line – and often between stops are looked at in two ways!
Firstly they are illustrated by dialogues between people who live in the area of the relevant tube station and secondly by brief reference to actual statistics.
I had a small problem with both of these – in the dialogues I did loose track a couple of times (no pun intended!) and felt like I was just ploughing on to find out what was going on.
The issue with the statistics is that the author admits that a few random events can alter the average of some of these values significantly for one year – in other words the stark differences between one place and another could actually be due to chance – but then never seems to tell us what time periods the statistics represent. If the statistics are long-term averages, they probably represent real difference – but the way they are presented leaves this open to question.
Now, I am not some form of stats geek – but I do know my way around a graph and I have to say I found this element of the book disappointing.
Equally, this is not to say that I did not enjoy reading the book – but I just kept having a little nagging question popping up at the back of my mind!