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London Under (2011)

de Peter Ackroyd

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8364521,176 (3.49)62
A short study of everything that goes on under London--from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheaters to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts, and modern tube stations.
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Es mostren 1-5 de 45 (següent | mostra-les totes)
An enjoyable read in places especially the chapters detailing the history of the Tube but overall a little disappointing due to the writing style.

A lot of interesting material but could've been packaged better. This was one I had to put down at times and read something else before returning to it as it was a bit dry ( )
  KevinCannon1968 | Oct 2, 2021 |
After a few weeks where I haven't felt like reading anything I felt like I needed something light to get myself back into the fold. I don't know why my modjo just vanishes for weeks at a time but when it does I find it quite annoying. Fortunately I have been busy doing other things so that I didn't drive myself to distraction. However, back to the book. I'm not sure when or where I picked this up but I suspect it may have been towards the end of last year as part of a 3 for 2 deal.

This book is a very light history of London under the surface, ie the waterways, the tube, war time shelters etc. It starts off by detailing some of the ancient waterways, some of which still flow under the surface and which a lot of areas and streets get their names from. I did not know for example that places like Clerkenwell got their names from wells which formed a central part of the society at the time.

After the waterways there is a mishmash of underground tunnel building, myths and legends and then finally onto what becomes the modern day underground tube system. I know a little bit about the tube and it's early days due to a documentary series ran a few years ago. At the time, and in fact still now, I was amazed at how they actually constructed the tunnels given that London is essentially clay and prone to collapse. Sadly this book misses a lot of that detail out and there is scant mention of the engineering brilliance that went behind it's design and construction.

This is the main failing of the book in my opinion. It's not the best written book in the world, his writing style isn't to my liking, but it lacks detail which would make it a far more interesting real. I ended up feeling teased by some of what was revealed only to have to read about it further on the internet. It kind of felt as though this was a thorough outline of a book which should have been written instead of the final draft. It is a shame as this could have been a fantastic book. ( )
  Brian. | Jun 20, 2021 |
Plus another half star. As I read it I felt as if it were an unstructured elegant list of facts (and I was glad it was so short) but by the chapter on the underground I was enthralled. Skimming back through the book after finishing it was much more satisfying than the first read through - the structure became clear and it has left me with the thirst to go off and look at maps and search out more detail and find out much more. ( )
  Ma_Washigeri | Jan 23, 2021 |
London history ( )
  MarianneAudio | Aug 14, 2020 |
The London skyline is famous all round the world, but apart from the tube, beneath the streets very few people know what is there.

Ackroyd's book really only scratches the surface, as it is fairly short, but he uncovers litte gems of information on the 2000 year old history of London. Every time anyone digs a hole there another nugget of history is revealed. There are chapters on the tube, the hidden rivers of London, and the Fleet, which was 60 feet wide at certain points has a whole chapter to itself. There are sketchy details on the government tunnels, so of which are open to the public, and others that are still not.

Some of the archeological details are fascinating, in particular the finds, and in some case still operational Roman water courses.

Really enjoyed reading it, looking forward to some of his other books now. ( )
  PDCRead | Apr 6, 2020 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 45 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Ackroyd (or his editor) has reined in the whimsical generalisations that mar his earlier books, with not a single utterance of that Ackroydian cliché: “London has always been…”. (Fans of Ackroyd bingo will also note a significant diminution of ‘noisome’ occurrences, with a concomitant increase in ‘meets its quietus’.)

This is a short but punchy book. You can easily read it in two sittings. If you’re already well-versed in hypogeal London, you may want to wait for the paperback. For those looking for a highly readable introduction, plumb any depth to get hold of a copy.
afegit per John_Vaughan | editaThe Londonist (Apr 15, 2013)
 
It’s the second half of “London Under” that tells this story of the Tube — the true reward of the book — but Ackroyd makes readers work for it.
 
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Tread carefully over the pavements of London for you are treading on skin, a skein of stone that covers rivers and labyrinths, tunnels and chambers, streams and caverns, pipes and cables, springs and passages, crypts and sewers, creeping things that will never see the light of day.
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Underground space has acquired the status of dark matter, unseen yet somehow maintaining the structure of the visible world. (p. 175)
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A short study of everything that goes on under London--from original springs and streams and Roman amphitheaters to Victorian sewers, gang hideouts, and modern tube stations.

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Mitjana: (3.49)
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