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Condition: Used: Acceptable
Comment: Acceptable mainly due its usual library marks. The dust jacket, clean and previously protected, is sticker-free with light shelf imperfection. The text and pages remain nicely clean and in good reading condition. The spine is good--straight and strong. Light shelf wear to lower edge of pages.
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London Rising: The Men Who Made Modern London Hardcover – May 27, 2008

4.8 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* By 1670, London had endured several decades of hell. The ravages of the English Civil War had depressed English commerce and led to massive growth of the poor, urban population. The infrastructure, even by seventeenth-century standards, was rotting, and the streets, usually unpaved, became swamps when heavy rains struck. In 1665, a recurrence of the plague killed as many as 100,000 people. The next year, the Great Fire destroyed much of the central city. Yet, a century later, London could justifiably be considered a great metropolis at the center of a thriving commercial empire. According to Hollis, a London native, this renaissance can be credited substantially to the vision and talents of five men. The political philosopher John Locke proposed theories that unleashed the powers of individual liberty and creativity. Robert Hooke used mathematics and the “new science” to design a new concept of urban development. Nicholas Barbon, a developer on the make, used his entrepreneurial skills to rebuild and expand the city. John Evelyn was a prolific writer whose prose brought attention to such contemporary topics as urban pollution. Finally, Christopher Wren, the great architect, designed the buildings that came to symbolize the rebirth of a great city. This is an engrossing account of the rise of a great city and of some of the men who made it happen. --Jay Freeman


“A fascinating picture of the rebirth of London after the Fire and the men who made it happen, combining the history of ideas, architecture and the life of the city in a riveting narrative.” ―Jenny Uglow, author of The Lunar Men

“London Rising is a truly inspiring story of human ingenuity and persistence in the face of disaster--and of how the future can be built out of the rubble of the past. On top of all that, it's hard to imagine a better introduction to the politics and culture of this glorious period in English history.” ―Ross King, author of Brunelleschi's Dome and The Judgment of Paris

“A wonderfully rich and informative book. To present deep scholarship so accessibly and with such fluency is a rare achievement.” ―Tom Holland, author of Persian Fire: The First World Empire and the Battle for the West

“In this fascinating, richly detailed account of how St. Paul's rose from London's ashes after the Great Fire, Leo Hollis unravels what he calls this ‘puzzle in stone' to describe not just the new cathedral and its design and construction but also the complex politics, science and philosophy of the day and the ambitions of the extraordinary men who created the first truly modern city.” ―Lucy Moore, author of Liberty and Marharanis

“Leo Hollis's book is as impressive a construction as St Paul's itself; his story, beautifully told, builds up the fabric of the intellectual revolution of the great minds encircling Wren's, culminating in the cultural renewal of the Eighteenth Century's greatest city and the peerless dome of the architect's cathedral itself; Hollis makes us see St Paul's as if for the first time, a remarkable achievement.” ―Jonathan Glancey, author of The Story of Architecture

“This is a superlative book. Leo Hollis has that rare gift of making the incomprehensible, such as the nature of light and the complexity of national finance, comprehensible to the most lay of readers” ―Liza Picard, author of Victorian London: The Tale of a City 1840-1870

“a tour de force of biography, history, politics, philosophy and experimental science. . .With huge skill, Mr Hollis weaves his characters through this thickly detailed scene. As London grew and trade prospered, they threw themselves into the great project, building, surveying, measuring, data-collecting--in a frenzy of empiricism.” ―The Economist


Product Details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Walker Books; 1St Edition edition (May 27, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802716326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802716323
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,948,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This interesting book is a set of mini-biographies of five men who helped shape the future of London with their influence and abilities. The five men, philosopher John Locke, scientist and architect Robert Hooke, city developer Nicholas Barbon, politician and diarist John Evelyn and one of history's greatest architects, Christopher Wren. The author goes through each of these men, how they influence the development and creation of modern London as we know it today. Of course, much of this phoenix like rising of new London was owed to the Great Fire of London of 1666 that leveled most of the old city and thus, giving these men a chance to make their own imprint to history.

I think of all the five men discussed here in this book, Christopher Wren definitely stand head and shoulder above all others. Even in the book, Wren's life appears to be more dominate and his works on St. Paul's Cathedral appears to be the central anchor of the narrative. And Wren's work is what we see more often visibility around London then any of the other four men in the book.

I think the only minor weakness of this book comes in that the subject matter is spread out bit thin since its impossible to do justice to each men. However, this book definitely encourage me to read a biography of Christopher Wren which I will do in the near future.

Overall, this proves to be a pretty good reading material for anyone interested in the historical development of London during the second half of the 17th century when the foundation of modern London was being laid out.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anyone with an ounce of curiosity about the monumental doings in 17th century London should buy and read this book.

Leo Harris is a wonderful storyteller, with a true gift for historical synthesis. Having read his book, I now have a much better understanding of the background to the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and of the astounding advances in scientific, economic and political theory arising out of the handful of brilliant men who dominated this transitional age.

Those with interests ranging from religious theory, to banking, to urban planning and development, to architecture will enjoy this book, which will inspire many to go beyond it; to seek out more information on the time's many major events and still famous personalities, e.g., Isaac Newton, John Locke and Christopher Wren.

This book will win prizes.
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Format: Hardcover
The great fire of 1666 presented King Charles II, and those diverse individuals that served him, with the opportunity to create the first modern city of Europe.

This wonderful book tracks the lives of five individuals (Nicholas Barbon, John Locke, Robert Hooke, John Evelyn and Christopher Wren) from the Civil War (in the 1640's) through the early 18th century. These individuals contribute to the "modernity" of London after the great fire in different ways (including contributions to science, religion, modern government, horticulture and, or course, architecture), with the center piece being Wren's St. Paul's Cathedral. Learn how these extraordinary individuals used their unique talents to make the City what it is today.

Anyone who loves London will love this book.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I got this one as a link through Instapundit. I liked it very well.

London Rising gives an inside look at city planning after the disastrous Great Fire of London in 1666. The book presents the ideas and the challenges of re-designing and rebuilding a city, improving it while making all the former tenants whole financially. The sections on speculative land deals and finance/banking are enlightening and very clear. Leo Hollis does an excellent job sifting through sources and presenting the reader with a fluid, interesting, and very readable account of the 17th century.

The book highlights the ideas and contributions of five men: John Locke, pre-enlightenment philosopher; John Evelyn, writer and garden-lover; Robert Hooke, creative genius; Nicholas Barbon, land speculator and shady dealer; and Christopher Wren, the brain behind St. Paul's cathedral.

The rebuilding sections of the book are amazing. Hollis also explores the philosophical underpinnings of the Great Restoration, as well as the discoveries and controversies of the century. Since the rebuilding sections are so interesting, the side trips into the other subjects in the book begin to feel like too many diversions.

In the end, London Rising seems like a book that is 75% rebuilding and 25% personalities and politics. I don't think it is a very balanced presentation of the five biographies: the weightiest is clearly Wren. However, since his sections are so interesting, I don't mind that he gets a disproportionate amount of attention.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Wren, Hooke, Evelyn...names we have heard if we follow London history in the mid 1600s. But this book has new and different info presenting a slightly different slant that blends the roles these three key characters played, and how they overlapped, in making London the amazing city we know today. The book provides insights into the lives and times of these men, and those equally fascinating people around them. A great read too.
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