London: The Autobiographyby Jon E. Lewis Published 01 Apr 2009
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From Boudicca's savage raid on Roman London in 60AD to the bombing of 7/7, here is the 2000-year story of one of the world's greatest cities.
"London: The Autobiography" Reviews
A collection of excerpts from across the last 2000 years documenting London's ups and downs, dramatic growth and life-altering events.
While I should be honest and say I skipped some of the lengthier, older texts, I did get great value out of reading this and learning lots about the city I have spent so much of my life in.
My favourite entries were the coroner's report from one of Jack the Ripper's victims (truly gruesome), the crime reports from Medieval London - specifically the fraudulent baker! - and first person accounts of the Blitz on London.
A must-read for anyone with interest in London and who wants to learn its history in an unusual and enlightening way.
I was compelled to read this because I lived in London for almost six months half a lifetime ago and have visited it several times since. I learned the stories about the ghosts on the Elephant & Castle line and about the tunnel under the Thames that leads to the Island of Dogs. Its mythology lives in the many corners of my mind, even though I haven't visited in years.
London: An Autobiography is nothing if not an ambitious attempt to anthologize short passages from the Roman era to the present that explain how this metropolis came to be. Yes, I enjoyed reading it, but I would say it's a book made to be sold in airports for tired travelers with short attention spans. The lake is wide but shallow, though it did explain nice tidbits such the Great Stink of the summer of 1858 when the city was finally obliged to clean the sewage out of the Thames, and continuing on in a 19th century vein, Dostoevsky's piece on prostitutes in Haymarket.
Some things I really enjoyed and some things that did not make my day. I guess that's what an anthology is all about, the picking and choosing. It's a good book for an intellectually curious tourist, which means that inevitably, only part of it will be read well.
This is a wonderful book chronicling the history of London, starting with the sacking of Londinium by Boudicca in AD 60, all the way through the terrorist bombings of 7/7/05. Each entry begins with a small introduction, but then is described in the words of someone who actually witnessed the event. Some of the entries do go on a bit too long, but overall the book is a wonderful look back at the great city.
It's a collection on different articles joined together.
Most of the items were interesting, there were a couple that were left in 'olde english' which made them very difficult to read but if you have an interest in the history of London, going from the end of the Roman settlement to near enough now, then this is quite intesting
Rather than a chronological history of the city of London, this is a series of documents that are contemporary to the events they describe. It weaves together a fascinating "autobiography" of this great city through several millennia. At the end of many of the documents is a commentary by the author which serves to provide historical context.
This is a fabulous book! I read it very slowly but enjoyed the many writings from various people over such a long span of time. For anyone that is interested in London, I highly recommend reading it.