London: A Biography

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Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, Dec 23, 2009 - History - 848 pages
16 Reviews

Here are two thousand years of London’s history and folklore, its chroniclers and criminals and plain citizens, its food and drink and countless pleasures. Blackfriar’s and Charing Cross, Paddington and Bedlam. Westminster Abbey and St. Martin in the Fields. Cockneys and vagrants. Immigrants, peasants, and punks. The Plague, the Great Fire, the Blitz. London at all times of day and night, and in all kinds of weather. In well-chosen anecdotes, keen observations, and the words of hundreds of its citizens and visitors, Ackroyd reveals the ingenuity and grit and vitality of London. Through a unique thematic tour of the physical city and its inimitable soul, the city comes alive.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sscarllet - LibraryThing

I have no words for this book - it's just amazing. I've read it three times now, once before I moved to London as a student, once just because and once before I moved to London permanently, and I will ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - sageness - LibraryThing

Atrociously bad. It could be turned into a drinking game -- drink any time Ackroyd uses fallacious logic or uses a completely unrelated and non-universal example to "prove" an absurd point. Of course ... Read full review


CHAPTER 44Whats New?
The Natural History of London
CHAPTER 45Give the Lydy a Flower
CHAPTER 46Weather Reports
CHAPTER 47A Foggy Day
Night and Day
CHAPTER 48Let There Be Light
CHAPTER 49Night in the City

CHAPTER 5Loud and Everlasting
CHAPTER 6Silence Is Golden
The Late Medieval City
CHAPTER 7This Companye
Onward and Upward
CHAPTER 8Rather Dark and Narrow
CHAPTER 9Packed to Blackness
CHAPTER 10Maps and Antiquarians
Trading Streets and Trading Parishes
CHAPTER 11Where Is the Cheese of Thames Street?
A London Neighbourhood
CHAPTER 12The Crossroads
London as Theatre
CHAPTER 13Show Show Show Show Show
CHAPTER 14He Shuld Neuer Trobell the Parish No More
CHAPTER 15Theatrical City
CHAPTER 16Violent Delights
CHAPTER 17Music Please
CHAPTER 18Signs of the Times
CHAPTER 19All of Them Citizens
Pestilence and Flame
CHAPTER 20A Plague Upon You
CHAPTER 21Painting the Town Red
After the Fire
CHAPTER 22A London Address
CHAPTER 23To Build Anew
Crime and Punishment
CHAPTER 24A Newgate Ballad
CHAPTER 25A Note on Suicide
CHAPTER 26A Penitential History
CHAPTER 27A Rogues Gallery
CHAPTER 28Horrible Murder
CHAPTER 29Londons Opera
CHAPTER 30Raw Lobsters and Others
CHAPTER 31Thereby Hangs a Tale
Voracious London
CHAPTER 32Into the Vortex
CHAPTER 33A Cookery Lesson
CHAPTER 34Eat In or Take Away
CHAPTER 35Market Time
CHAPTER 36Waste Matter
CHAPTER 37A Little Drink or Two
CHAPTER 38Clubbing
CHAPTER 39A Note on Tobacco
CHAPTER 40A Bad Odour
CHAPTER 41You Sexy Thing
CHAPTER 42A Turn of the Dice
London as Crowd
CHAPTER 43Mobocracy
CHAPTER 50A City Morning
Londons Radicals
CHAPTER 51Where Is the Well of Clerkenwell?
Violent London
CHAPTER 52A Ring A Ring
Black Magic White Magic
CHAPTER 53I Met a Man Who Wasnt There
CHAPTER 54Knowledge Is Power
A Fever of Building
CHAPTER 55London Will Soon Be Next Door to Us
CHAPTER 56Nothing Quite Like It
Londons Rivers
CHAPTER 57You Cannot Take the Thames with You
CHAPTER 58Dark Thames
CHAPTER 59They Are Lost
Under the Ground
CHAPTER 60What Lies Beneath
Victorian Megalopolis
CHAPTER 61How Many Miles to Babylon?
CHAPTER 62Wild Things
CHAPTER 63If It Wasnt for the ouses in Between
Londons Outcasts
CHAPTER 64They Are Always with Us
CHAPTER 65Can You Spare a Little Something?
CHAPTER 66They Outvoted Me
Women and Children
CHAPTER 67The Feminine Principle
CHAPTER 68Boys and Girls Come Out to Play
CHAPTER 69Have You Got the Time?
CHAPTER 70The Tree on the Corner
East and South
CHAPTER 71The Stinking Pile
CHAPTER 72The South Work
The Centre of Empire
CHAPTER 73Maybe Its Because Im a Londoner
CHAPTER 74Empire Day
After the Great War
CHAPTER 75Suburban Dreams
CHAPTER 76War News
Refashioning the City
CHAPTER 77Fortune not Design
Cockney Visionaries
CHAPTER 78Unreal City
CHAPTER 79Resurgam
An Essay on Sources

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About the author (2009)

PETER ACKROYD is also the author of London Under, Shakespeare: The BiographyThames: The Biography, and Venice: Pure City; acclaimed biographies of T. S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, and Sir Thomas More; and several successful novels. He has won the Whitbread Book Award for Biography, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Somerset Maugham Award, among others.

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