A short, entertaining and passionate history of London by the bestselling author of THE VICTORIANS
The structure of the book is chronological, with digressions. From Roman and then Norman London, we move on to Chaucer's London - the city of the Peasants Revolt, Dick Whittington and the great Livery Companies. In Tudor and Stuart London many believed the city was being wrecked by over-population, over-building and the greed of speculators.
Eighteenth-century London witnessed the South Sea Bubble, gin, highwaymen and the Gordon riots; but also banking, hospitals, and the elegant design of everyday things. In the nineteenth century, expanding vigorously, the city resisted any overall make-over. With Queen Victoria came the Railway Age, which made and unmade the city. Chartism, anti-semitism, overcrowding and cholera. But engineering triumphs too. If the First World War was a nightmare happening elsewhere, the amazing six years of 1939-45 were the city's finest hour. Post-1945, property developers took over, with disastrous results.
The author celebrates the cosmopolitan city that mobility and immigration have created, while deploring the 'moronization' of the city, exemplified by the Millennium.
A. N. Wilson was born in 1950. He has written biographies of Jesus, St Paul, Milton and Sir Walter Scott, and hisTolstoy won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. He is also the author of twelve novels, including Wise Virgin, which won the WH Smith award. He used to be the Literary Editor of the Evening Standard and now writes a regular column for the Standard, Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.