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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

London: a settlement founded by the Romans, occupied by the Saxons, conquered by the Danes and ruled by the Normans. This unremarkable place - not even included in the Domesday Book - became a medieval maze of alleys and courtyards, later to be chequered with grand estates of Georgian splendour. It swelled with industry and became the centre of the largest empire in history. And rising from the rubble of the Blitz, it is now one of the greatest cities in the world.

From the prehistoric occupants of the Thames valley to the preoccupied commuters of today, Simon Jenkins brings together the key events, individuals and trends in London's history to create a matchless portrait of the capital. Based in part on his own witness of the events that shaped the post-war city, and with his trademark colour and authority, he shows above all how London has taken shape over more than two thousand years. This is narrative history at its finest, from the most ardent protector of our heritage.

©2019 Simon Jenkins (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about A Short History of London

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    4 out of 5 stars
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The devil's in the detail.

I enjoyed this audio book, it was read well and the language used was easy to follow and digest.
The book itself wasn't quite what i expected. The short history of London is the history of the capital and what events shaped its building and social structure throughout history. It reads like a biography of London as a sentient being and what events and people shaped it through history.
A fascinating stance on telling the story of London but at times I found it frustrating that key events in its history were referenced in a couple of paragraphs when I wanted more detail.
Essentially it's not a history of the events of London, but a history of how London was formed. So it talks of the key players in shaping London as a city. Starting way back when, and going through the influences throughout history, some good and some bad.
There is so much history in London that I wanted this book to explore and expand on but it doesn't.
I did enjoy it but found myself wanting more. Just more of the history, more detail around certain historical figures or certain events from the capital.
A good book but I'll be looking elsewhere to expand my knowledge on London's history... Which is maybe the purpose of the book.

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Interesting.

A well written and researched book, full of interesting facts about the history of London and it's environment.
The narrator was truly splendid, enhancing the content marvellously.

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Unbalanced view of London.

What was a very enjoyable book to start turns into a puerile rant. Very disappointing...

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Wooden narrator, too much general English history

Far too much general summary of English history most of which I already know at this level. Little engaging in the London bits. Wooden narrator

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Overall very fascinating and insightful

Well read and a well put together account of London with incredible stories and detail. Some icons received less or no attention such as Tower Bridge, the Royal Albert hall, the post office tower, recent monarchy etc. Enjoyable history lesson nevertheless and lots of focus on politics and architecture which has indeed made London the best city in the world.

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Excellent - another tour de force

I have found myself both returning to and quoting from this book as I walk the streets of a London. I have long felt like a tourist in this river full city, now I’m a better informed one.

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  • Atlas Orphan
  • 10-01-20

Great general overview of London

This book was, as evidenced by the title, a very brief overview of London’s vast and remarkable history. If you’re looking for depth and instructional learning on any one period of London’s history, this is not the book. However, if you want a quick read and one that will give you plenty of impressive historical vignettes to bring up at dinner with clients or friends, I would highly recommend Simon Jenkins work.

1 person found this helpful