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Summary

Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. It is a comprehensive account, animated by Ackroyd's concern for the close relationship between the present and the past as well as by what he describes as the peculiar "echoic" quality of London whereby its texture and history actively affect the lives and personalities of its citizens. London is perhaps the most important study of the city ever written, and confirms Ackroyd's status as what one critic has called "our age's greatest London imagination". Foundations tells the story of London's formation and physical conception, it's early growth and character.
©2000 Peter Ackroyd (P)2004 Random House Audiobooks

Critic reviews

"Peter Ackroyd was born to write the biography of London....A brilliant book" ( Sunday Telegraph)

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nigel
  • Chard, United Kingdom
  • 03-05-06

Get under the skin of a city

I'm neither a Londoner, nor a London-dweller, and this is the first time I've wished I could be either. Ackroyd's introduction to the city is compelling, with believable conclusions and a good sprinkling of amusing anecdote. The links between the ancient past and the city's bustling present are rich and thought-provoking. But beware - you'll want to keep stopping to check a map and follow the lines of ancient walls and roads as Simon Callow describes them in his measured tones. If you are lucky enough to be in the City, you can play a real-life 'Da Vinci Code' by visiting the three ancient Druidic sacred groves that are alleged to stand in the heart of the city. By calling this a biography, Ackroyd promises to bring the city to life; he succeeded for me, and the book does what is says on the cover.

24 of 24 people found this review helpful