A Traveller's Companion to London
edited and introduced by Peter Ackroyd and Thomas Wright
5" x 7 3/4" • 432 pages • b&w illustrations, maps
ISBN 9781566565370 • paperback • $16.95 •
"The city which shaped Ackroyd's imagination and granted him one of the most distinguished literary careers of the late 20th century." — Sunday Telegraph
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Rich and diverse views of "the greatest city on earth."
London has witnessed everything from pilgrimages, celebrations, acts of heroism and moments of religious contemplation to riots, executions, grisly murders and disastrous fires. It is a history of work and capital, of power and exuberance, and of great creativity from a rich host of artists and writers, Shakespeare and Dickens among them, but also of violent crime, exploitation, loneliness and extreme hardship; life in the poverty ridden East of the city could not be more different than life in its opulent West End. Drawing upon extracts from contemporary letters, diaries and memoirs of fascinating inhabitants and visitors, this anthology by acclaimed London historian Peter Ackroyd and Thomas Wright tells the story of the city from its earliest years up to the present day. Here you will find Evelyn's famous account of the Great Fire in 1666, Dickens' brilliant evocation of the Gordon Riots of 1780, Boswell's description of the compilation of Dr. Johnson's Dictionary, and Churchill's recollections of the Blitz. There are also less familiar, though no less vivid, excerpts, many of which provide an entertaining, sometimes risque, climpse into the life, customs and morals of this great city. Modern visitors and armchair readers alike are given a ringside view to the past and an unforgettable experience of the essential spirit of London.
Peter Ackroyd is an award-winning novelist, critic and biographer. He has won the Whitbread Biography Award, the Royal Society of Literature's William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, and the Guardian fiction prize. His London: The Biography (2000) was awarded the South Bank Show Annual Award for Literature. He was educated at Cambridge and Yale Universities, was literary editor of The Spectator and then chief non-fiction book reviewer for The Times. He lives in London. In 2003 he was awarded a CBE.
Thomas Wright is an historian, writer and researcher. He was the editor for Akroyd's London: The Biography (2000). He also lives in London.
"London...Peter Ackroyd was born to write about [it]...if you want to know it better, to see it with your eyes wide open, then Ackroyd is your indispensable companion." — Observer
"Peter Ackroyd lives in London...the fuller version should read, London lives in Peter Ackroyd." — The Times
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