London: A Social History

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Harvard University Press, Feb 12, 1998 - History - 431 pages
3 Reviews

This dazzling and yet intimate book is the first modern one-volume history of London from Roman times to the present. An extraordinary city, London grew from a backwater in the Classical age into an important medieval city, a significant Renaissance urban center, and a modern colossus. Roy Porter paints a detailed landscape--from the grid streets and fortresses of Julius Caesar and William the Conqueror to the medieval, walled "most noble city" of churches, friars, and crown and town relationships. Within the crenelated battlements, manufactures and markets developed and street-life buzzed.

London's profile in 1500 was much as it was at the peak of Roman power. The city owed its courtly splendor and national pride of the Tudor Age to the phenomenal expansion of its capital. It was the envy of foreigners, the spur of civic patriotism, and a hub of culture, architecture, great literature, and new religion. From the eighteenth through the twentieth centuries, London experienced a cruel civil war, raging fires, enlightenment in thought, government, and living, and the struggle and benefits of empire. From the lament that "London was but is no more" to "you, who are to stand a wonder to all Years and ages...a phoenix," London became an elegant, eye-catching, metropolitan hub. It was a mosaic, Porter shows, that represented the shared values of a people--both high and low born--at work and play.

London was and is a wonder city, a marvel. Not since ancient times has there been such a city--not eternal, but vibrant, living, full of a free people ever evolving. In this transcendent book, Roy Porter touches the pulse of his hometown and makes it our own, capturing London's fortunes, people, and imperial glory with brio and wit.

  

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - John_Vaughan - LibraryThing

'London was always a muddle that worked. Will it remain that way?' is Roy Porter's closing question in this extensive, but engrossing, work. I chose his final remark to start this review because it ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - OneMorePage - LibraryThing

Porter gives a good overview of London's rise as a great city, then a detailed view of its society (poor, rich, and in-between) during the long 19th century, covering the rise of capitalism and the ... Read full review

Contents

List of Illustrations
ix
Preface
xiii
Introduction I
i
Formation to Reformation 11
ii
Tudor London
34
War Plague and Fire
66
From Restoration to Regency
93
16501800
131
Bumbledom? Londons Politics 18001890
239
18201890
257
Victorian Life 2 79
279
Expansion 18901945
306
18901945
326
19451975
344
Thatchers London
364
The London Marathon
385

Life under the Georges
160
The Victorian Age
185
The Building of the Victorian Capital 18201890
205
Further Reading
390
Index
409
Copyright

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About the author (1998)

Roy Sydney Porter was born December 31, 1946. He grew up in a south London working class home. He attended Wilson's Grammar School, Camberwell, and won an unheard of scholarship to Cambridge. His starred double first in history at Cambridge University (1968) led to a junior research fellowship at his college, Christ's, followed by a teaching post at Churchill College, Cambridge. His Ph.D. thesis, published as The Making Of Geology (1977), became the first of more than 100 books that he wrote or edited. Porter was a Fellow and Director of Studies in History at Churchill College, Cambridge from 1972 to 1979; Dean from 1977 to 1979; Assistant Lecturer in European History at Cambridge University from 1974 to 1977, Lecturer from 1977 to 1979. He joined the Wellcome Institute fot the History of Medicine in 1979 where he was a Senior Lecturer from 1979 to 1991, a Reader from 1991 to 1993, and finally a Professor in the Social History of Medicine from 1993 to 2001. Porter was Elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1994, and he was also made an honorary fellow by both the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Psychiatrists. Roy Porter died March 4, 2002, at the age of 55.

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