London : a short history
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.
Inthe 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