London by Peter Ackroyd
The Biography

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Synopsis

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.


From the Trade Paperback edition.
 

About Peter Ackroyd

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PETER ACKROYD is an award-winning novelist, as well as a broadcaster, biographer, poet, and historian. He is the author of the acclaimed Thames: Sacred River, London: The Biography, and the first volume of his history of England, Foundation. He holds a CBE for services to literature and lives in London.
 
Published December 23, 2009 by Anchor. 848 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for London

Kirkus Reviews

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Eventually Ackroyd finds his focal concern in wondering “what is it, now, to be a Londoner?” He concludes that the city is of such immensity, so variegated in its component functions and populations, and so rich in historical associations, that it is “all singular and all blessed.” Although the a...

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Kirkus Reviews

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A good example of his approach throughout comes in the chapter “Far Under Ground,” where he personifies individual tube lines: “The Circle Line is adventurous and breezy, while the Bakerloo Line is disconsolate and brooding.” Readers who have experienced the same underside of London will find it ...

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The New York Times

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At the heart of Peter Ackroyd's new book is the idea that London lives, and therefore demands not a history but a biography.

Dec 02 2001 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

The Guardian

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London: the Biography Peter Ackroyd Chatto & Windus £25, pp822 Buy it at BOL What is London?

Oct 08 2000 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

The Guardian

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Illustrated London by Peter Ackroyd Chatto & Windus £25, pp254 The publication of a new book by Peter Ackroyd is an occasion for the kind of falderal and charivari that the author so vividly describes in his histories of London.

Nov 16 2003 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

The Guardian

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The Lambs of London by Peter Ackroyd Chatto & Windus £15.99, pp216 Curious, melancholy Charles Lamb has always appealed to Peter Ackroyd.

Aug 15 2004 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

The Guardian

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London: The Biography Peter Ackroyd 640pp, Chatto & Windus, £25 Buy it at BOL.

Oct 14 2000 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

The Bookbag

Summary: An abridged, yet still substantial, version of Ackroyd's major 2000 'biography' of the capital, telling the story of how London evolved, in a series of thematic, almost chronological chapters.

Mar 25 2012 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

San Francisco Chronicle

For although the book begins in prehistoric times and proceeds through Roman London to the Anglo-Saxon period to the Middle Ages, the creation of infrastructure, and finishing with its own finest hour sheltering Londoners during the Blitz, in this Londoner's capable hands, its fundamental essence...

Nov 13 2011 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

London Review of Books

And this preference for the resonances of heritage over the actual conditions of the city points to a wider problem: Ackroyd’s constant characterisation of the city as an actor in its own right tends to suppress the agency – and, by extension, the importance to the narrative – of London’s inhabit...

Feb 22 2001 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

Newcity Lit

Having written several books on London already, both real and imaginary, Peter Ackroyd is the perfect Virgil to follow down into the subterranean depths of “London Under,” his newest work on the great city.

Feb 27 2012 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

Islington Tribute

LONDON historian Peter Ackroyd’s latest book on the capital proves Karl Marx’s theory that what lies beneath determines what sits on top – at least in terms of a city’s architecture.

May 12 2011 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

Londonist

The Architecture of Wren, Kerry DownesBedlam: London and its Mad, Catharine ArnoldThe Blackest Streets: The Life and Death of a Victorian Slum, Sarah WiseThe Building of London: From the Conquest to the Great Fire, John SchofieldCharmes de Londres, Jacques PrévertCity of Sin: London and its Vices...

Sep 14 2015 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

Londonist

Tweet Miscellaneous Tagged: books, Literature, London book reviews, Peter Ackroyd, Secret London, subterranean london, under london, underground Report an error Related Posts

Apr 12 2011 | Read Full Review of London: The Biography

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