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London: A History Hardcover – January 1, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

This comprehensive history of London offers a clearly written and reasonably concise overview of the great city's history, from its founding by invading Romans to its recent status as an international city. Francis Sheppard presupposes that the reader has a general understanding of English history, yet London is not by any means written for specialists. Sheppard takes the reader from the mania for building exhibited by the Romans (including sophisticated bridges across the Thames) through subsequent invasions, plagues, fires, rebellions, and riots in a lucid chronological narrative. Sheppard's authoritative historical research is leavened with tasty tidbits, including descriptions of tavern life, theatrical events, and a seemingly endless supply of royal intrigue.

From ancient Londinium through the London of Chaucer, Dickens, and Churchill, the city's long history is given a treatment both responsible and highly readable. While London: A History is naturally most interesting to Anglophiles, it's worth noting that Sheppard also succeeds in demonstrating the pervasive influence London has had on other cities and societies, so that the history of London is revealed as an essential part of the history of Western civilization. --Robert McNamara --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Veteran British historian (The Treasury of London's Past) and editor (Survey of London) Sheppard serves up a concise book that covers the entire history of the city of London in under 400 pages. Divided into six sections, the book examines Londinium, the city founded by the Romans; the city's development through the Middle Ages to the year 1530; Augustan and Georgian London from 1700 to 1830; Metropolitan and Imperial London from 1830 to 1914; and the modern era through 1997, the latter aptly titled "The Uncertain Metropolis." What saves Sheppard's study from the dangers of dry summary and over-concision is the author's evident keen interest in his subject. A plus is that Sheppard's knowledge isn't limited to London; he offers pertinent comparisons with other cities throughout. However, one modern comparison with Paris, meant to point up the difference between French decisiveness and British equivocation in cultural matters, misfires: Sheppard complains that the new British library took some 26 years to build, whereas the French building was opened only eight years after French President Francois Mitterrand argued for it. What Sheppard omits is the international dismay over the many ills caused by the haste of the French project. No matter. Sheppard is something like a more shy and modest Braudel focusing on his own narrow isle instead of the vast, gaudy Mediterranean; he earns our thanks for his decades of concentration and for the ever-refreshing zest and affection with which he describes his beloved city. 61 illustrations.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 442 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford Univ. Press (January 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0756754593
  • ISBN-13: 978-0756754594
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,999,286 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on July 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
How else to explain how the ancient Roman market village of Londinium, no more than 1 square mile in size at its maximum, eventually came to be one of the major finance, insurance, publishing, and cultural centers in the world. LONDON: A HISTORY is just that, tracing the development of the city from the Romans through the millennia to today. The author even offers his views as to what the future holds for London. From someone who says that of all the cities founded by the Romans, "only Paris, Constantinople (Istanbul) and Rome can stand comparison with London", you can therefore expect that he sees a fairly bright future.
Wheras the history of London can hardly be matched by other cities, even in modern times the city stands up favorably. In making modern comparisons with US cities such as Washington DC and New York, the author points out, that nothwithstanding the lack of a skyscraper skyline like the Big Apple, and the monuments of the nations capital, London still has economic and cultural clout to match these cities.
This book is written by a Londoner and one who obviously loves his city and for that we should be glad because it makes for some very interesting insights. The author is also an academic and for that we suffer a bit as his writing style is very dry. The book however is so full of what is worth knowing about all aspects of London life and culture, that it's certainly worth plowing through.
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7 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Interesting in a dry and scholarly way. The author assumes you already know the history of England so he doesn't give much explanation about who's on the throne, or about events taking place. He only explains how they affected life in London. Which is all right; just be prepared. I read this book in conjunction with Rutherfurd's London, and the two together gave me a good picture of the city.
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