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The Making of London (Hardback)

The People and Events That Made it Famous

P&S History > British History P&S History > Social History World History > UK & Ireland > England > London

By David L Brandon, Alan Brooke
Imprint: Pen & Sword History
Pages: 208
Illustrations: 35 mono
ISBN: 9781399084673
Published: 6th March 2023



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The Making of London explores the rich history of the Metropolis from the Roman settlement established 2,000 years ago in the area that came to be known as the 'Square Mile' and traces the process whereby it eventually emerged as the world's greatest city. London became the capital and seat of government of Britain, a centre of culture, entertainment and retailing, a major port and industrial centre and world leader in international trade, commerce and finance. The focus is largely on central London but necessarily brings in other nearby districts when events involved interaction with these.

While examining a selection of major historical events, consideration is also given to some of the more unusual and quirky aspects that have contributed to making London the diverse and fascinating place it remains today. A largely chronological approach is taken which emphasises how the lives of the ordinary people were shaped by the events they witnessed such as invasions, riots and rebellions, fires, smogs, wars, epidemics and pandemics. The story embraces the apparent glamour of areas such as Mayfair and the West End but does not neglect districts stalked by crime, poverty and despair. London has always been a place of paradoxes where flaunted wealth has existed alongside appalling social deprivation. The juxtaposition of extravagance and poverty, of high culture with the lowest of low life is a recurrent theme in London's history.

The Making of London will interest newcomers wishing to know about London's past but even those familiar with its history are likely to find something new in its pages.

The book has a broad view of the history of London. It hits on major events that happened, ending with Covid 19. If you want a collected history of the city to introduce you to the topic, this is a good book to do that.

NetGalley, Morgan Frazier

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

As someone who spent three years in London and has returned many times, it is my favourite city in the world. But it is not the city that I recall. In fact, the last time I was there, there had been so much change, it was no longer the familiar old shoe it had been for decades. This book is a testament to the fact that my experience has been shared probably by millions of people since the city was first founded by the Romans.

The book is a bit like a leisurely stroll through The Museum of London. In our journey we see the things that changed, shaped and created modern London. With all the new changes in the 50 years I have loved London, I can only imagine what a time traveller might think- moving in either direction. I have read many histories of the great city and this one is a welcome addition, neither too ponderous nor too shallow. It flows nicely, like the river Thames does now. Populated with many of the key personalities who influenced the continuing transformations.

Well done. Five purrs and two paws up.

NetGalley, Susan Johnston

This book delves into the history of London when it first came to be all the way to now. I learned some interesting facts along the way. A good book to pick up if interested in learning about London.

NetGalley, Anna A.

A good travel guide based on history. It made me wish I could visit the places now and I enjoyed it.

NetGalley, Anna Maria Giacomasso

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

A really interesting guide that really made me look at London with new eyes. I loved learning all the new facts and rehashing some the facts that I already new. It has made me want to visit some areas of london and look with new eyes.

NetGalley, Aria Harlow

This was a fascinating short history of the city of London. It provides enough detail to tell a compelling story and provide new information to readers, but is brief enough to keep more casual readers from checking out too early. The tone is very light and pleasant, and doesn’t come across dry like so many similar works do.

NetGalley, Lucas Hagen

A history of the changing and continuity of London. An informative and interesting style that made me feel as if a friend was telling me about the history of London.
A chatty writing style that's great to read and digest.

NetGalley, Helen Wilkinson

Meticulously researched, giving you everything you need to know before visiting.

NetGalley, David Styles

A very interesting book on London's history. Well written and researched. A real page turner. I would thoroughly recommend this book to everyone who likes English history.

NetGalley, Lional Jones

This is a fascinating look at some of London's most defining moments and people. I liked learning more about how every day people lived in the city over the centuries. We always learn about royalty but not the everyman. I can't imagine shops ON London Bridge. Very intriguing.

NetGalley, Maureen Carney

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

The Making of London stretches back to the early days of London civilisation and travels on a journey through the people and events that shaped the London we have today.

I have always loved visiting and learning about London but all the historical fiction I previously had was acquired in snippets, and I would have to piece it all together like a jigsaw to gain a real sense of what made London the way it is. But Alan Brooke and David Brandon have packed such a rich and comprehensive introduction to all of London's history, from the Romans to the Blitz to the COVID-19 pandemic.

After reading this book, I feel so enlightened and enriched by the unique and fascinating history of this world-famous and iconic city.

NetGalley, Faye Oliver

This book starts 2,000 years ago in London, Roman time, through Victorian time, to know. London has such a rich and diverse history. An enjoyable read, so much I did not know about London.

NetGalley, Sheila Treacy

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

When I was younger I went to London for a day or two, this book has brought me back so many memories, Highly Recommended!

NetGalley, Sophie Crane

Since the building of a Roman fort (Londinium) at the end of the Thames estuary around 60BCE there has been a community of traders and soldiers. Though it it has been rebuilt by different invaders, since William the Conqueror (1166), it has been the Capital of England (and later the United Kingdom).

Beginning with the square mile that makes up the City of London, Greater London has continued to grow and expand into a city of over seven million. During that time the suburbs have been populated and created a massive cosmopolitan area in the flood plain of the Thames.

Brandon takes us through the growth of the city and the rebuilding after the devastating 1666 fire and the Blitz during WW2. During that time, London became the center of a world wide empire and the growth as the financial world center.

NetGalley, zeb kantrowitz

This was an informative and interesting read covering the large topic of the history of the city of London. This book is detailed and clearly well researched. It starts from the time of the Roman settlement and covers a range of topics such as immigration, crime, building development and key events from then up until the present day. Whilst this book covers a large amount of detail and information I found it was readable and interesting with quirky details that helped to hold my attention.

NetGalley, Leanne Nix

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I would recommend The Making of London to anyone who wishes to know more about London, and its remarkable history.

NetGalley, Michelle Kidwell

About David L Brandon

David Brandon had many jobs before becoming involved in teaching and organising in Further and then Higher Education, specialising in Adult Education. He has published extensively on his own and co-operated with Alan Brooke on sixteen previous titles. His interests include British topography, walking, social and economic history, the history of London, of crime and of the Royal Navy. His main interest, however, has always been the railways of Britain and their economic, social and cultural impact.

About Alan Brooke

Alan Brooke taught history in Continuing and Higher Education for many years. He has written and co-authored books mainly on London history which include Tyburn: London’s Fatal TreeA History of Bankside; Marylebone and Tyburn Past; The Gates of the City of London and also Bound for Botany Bay. His continued involvement and interest in history is reflected through writing and giving public talks.

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