By Peter Ackroyd
(Anchor, Paperback, 9780385497718, 848pp.)
Publication Date: April 8, 2003
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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.
Peter Ackroyd is a bestselling writer of both fiction and nonfiction. His most recent books include the biographies Dickens, Blake, and Thomas More and the novels The Trial of Elizabeth Cree, Milton in America, and The Plato Papers. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award (jointly), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and The Guardian fiction prize. He lives in London.
“Magnificent. . . . Succeeds in animating on the page the life of one of the oldest and greatest cities in the world.”--The New York Times Book Review
“Ackroyd is the most effortless guide. . . . This is much more than history: it is a tapestry of inspiration and love.” --The Observer
“An erudite labour of love, a fan-letter to a fabulous city. . . . As exuberant, energetic and alarming as the city itself.” --Independent on Sunday
“A fat and filling feast: pretty much everything of interest about the capital is crammed into the eight-hundred pages.”--The Times
“If London had the ability to choose its biographer it undoubtedly would tap Peter Ackroyd.”--Vanity Fair
“A wonderful book, a treasure of information and anecdote about one of the world’s great cities, a book to be taken up again and again for the pleasures that lie within.”--Chicago Tribune
“A book to match its subject . . . one gratefully rediscovers that urban unreality, the city of romance and mystery as well as the one of shops, pubs, and thoroughfares.” --The Washington Post