London: a settlement founded by the Romans, occupied by the Saxons, conquered by the Danes, and ruled by the Normans. This transformative place became a medieval maze of alleys and courtyards, later to be checkered with grand estates of Georgian splendor. It swelled with industry and became the center of the largest empire in history. By the former editor of the London Times, a history of this unique world capital.
Native Londoner and Frormer London Times editor Jenkins (A Short History of England) brings a deep and abiding love, along with some despair, for his city to this appealing story of its unique and chaotic growth. He describes pivotal moments in the city’s history, including the Great Fire of London in 1666, and the impact of the Great War. He also doesn’t shy away from historical and contemporary accounts of racism and jingoism within the city and England itself. Readers will appreciate the selected illustrations and maps that accompany the text ... In addition to providing an enjoyable urban history that accurately and affectionately captures the fabric and character of London history, this account also serves as an optimal guide for armchair travelers.
The ageless genre of city histories receives a fine addition ... Jenkins, a lifelong Londoner who served as the editor of Evening Standard and the Times and is now a columnist at the Guardian, clearly loves his home city, and he leavens his enthusiasm with expertise and a highly critical eye ... Londoners and frequent visitors will relish his expert, opinionated, and sometimes highly unflattering picture ... Readers unfamiliar with the city’s geography will appreciate the generous maps and illustrations but may feel the urge to skim many detailed accounts of local property development. A mostly delightful love letter to a great city.
Guardian columnist Jenkins (A Short History of Europe) delivers an erudite and globally minded history of London ... One of the book’s most intriguing sections documents London’s status as a 'refuge to a continent' in the 19th century, playing home to such revolutionaries and republicans as German socialist Karl Marx, Hungarian freedom fighter Louis Kossuth, and Italian general Giuseppe Garibaldi. A lifelong Londoner, Jenkins writes with a deep familiarity and affection for the city, enlivening his considerable historical research. Anglophiles and fans of urban histories will treasure this spirited account.