Friday, April 27, 2012

London Under

What exists under London's streets, the Thames, and England's historical past?  London Under, written by Peter Ackroyd, examines these very questions.  I found this book during my trip to the Land of E last Spring and knew I had to read its contents.  London Under's title page, in-and-of-itself, spiked my interest and its pages of text made this quick read.

I read Ackroyd's book a few months ago and his stories continue to play through my mind.  Ackroyd, a cultural historian and novelist, is able to combine historical lore and hooking narrative into a tale of London's streets from the Bronze Age to the twentieth century. 

I am a History major with a flavour for England but I will not kid myself into thinking that I know all of England's past.  Ackroyd does a fantastic job providing novice readers with a taste for English history and portraying the less-well-know and much less discussed incidents of London's past.  For example, while many readers will be aware that Londoners stayed in the Underground during the Blitz, some may not be aware that people had to pay to enter the very tube stations which saved their lives.  Ackroyd's description of life in the Underground during the Second World War is vivid – and I really mean 'life,' the tubes seemed to have everything a person would require to live day to day.

Overall, I would suggest this book for anyone with an interest in English history and enjoys non-fiction works.  London Under provides interesting, engaging, and memorable stories of the city's past.  Novice history buffs and those who already have a rich understanding of English history would gain both entertainment and knowledge from Ackroyd's work.

Bibliographic information:
Ackroyd, A.  (2011).  London under.  London: Chatto & Windus.

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