You may think this is primarily about the Tube. Stephen William Smith est un anthropologue, biographe, historien, journaliste, écrivain et professeur d'études africaines à l'université Duke. Depending on what subject you're researching this could be a problematic source because Smith doesn't footnote anything, though you can track down most of his sources via the bibliography. The narrative tone here is one of slightly bemused enthusiasm. Smith's not quite an anorak. He breaks the chronology into Roman London, Anglo-Saxon London, Medieval London, Tudor London, Victorian London, and Cold War London. I read it with my tourist map of London at hand because, even though I have visited London a number of times, I do not always have the relationship of bridges, buildings and roads in my min This is written like a series of columns for a London newspaper.
Periodically, the lure of the lavatory proves too strong, and Smith heads back down into the poo, spotting rare netherworld mosquitos or describing Tudor thunderboxes. But the writing moves fast enough that this is only a momentary irritation. The subject matter is fascinating, but sadly marred by the writer's tone. If the embalming was not carried out correctly, Kevin continued, watching our faces, there was a risk that the coffin could explode. This evokes the subterranean regions of the capital from the murky depths of the sewage system to the buried treasures of the centuries of inhabitation of this stretch of the Thames. The exception to this is the one on the plague. Its a journey through the passages and tunnels of the city, the bunkers and tunnels, crypts and shadows.
Bazalgette, an architect who had designed many bridges, thoroughfares, and parks, who had previously reclaimed the Thames embankment, sought to end this health hazard by constructing a massive underground sewage system and diverting waste from entering the Thames in central London near the major populated areas. Each chapter has its gems. This should have been such an excellent book; combining history, london, and the dark places underneath. I will definitely be revisiting this. More of this and less of the other material would have made for a greater read as a whole.
Setting off to traipse the 630 square miles of the London Underground, he realises that its weird appeal is probably rooted in it being a private rather than public space. It tells the stories of Stephen Smith's explorations of what is beneath London's surface. A different view of history with some interesting and quirky facts. Multiple, entire rivers vanished from sight, but still flowing under the city and other built I bought this on my last trip to London years ago, sadly and didn't finish it on the plane ride home - and somehow it got set aside. I left my bookmark in the book too - I was using a ticket stub from the , dated 8 May 2007. Unlock lots of shopping options. He turns out to look nothing like this! I am glad I read it.
He is a former editor of the French daily newspaper Libération and the former deputy editor of the foreign desk at Le Monde. For many years he worked as a traveling correspondent for Radio France International and Reuters News Agency in West and Central Africa. My only reservation with the book is that it comes with no pictures, diagrams or maps. As well as being a contemporary tour of underground London, its also an exploration through time: Queen Boudicca lies beneath Platform 10 at Kings Cross legend has it ; Dick Turpin fled the Bow Street Runners along secret passages leading from the cellar of the Spaniards pub in North London; the remains of a pre-Christian Mithraic temple have been found near the Bank of England; on the platforms of the now defunct King William Street Underground, posters still warn that Careless talk costs lives. Author Stephen Smith begins his survey of the history of London underground with a vignette about miners - these may well be Welsh and North England coal miners, but here in London they dig for space below the city, space that can be used for utility conduits and that most massive of subterranean projects, the London Underground. Smith manages to overcme his anxiety of being below the surface to uncover an illuminating history of London's dark and distant past. He dislikes crowds and small spaces.
For centuries, royal families have feared the gut-roiling, vomit-inducing agony of a little something added to their food or wine by an enemy. Its a journey through the passages and tunnels of the city, the bunkers and tunnels, crypts and shadows. One or two are extremely dry--an agonizingly detailed and technical chapter on a dam system is a violent break in pace and interest. London is in many ways like a Middle Eastern tell - hills that contain the ruins of cities, built up in multiple layers over time, such that the stratification can be seen and identified in ever-increasing age the deeper one goes. The 'but' is that although it has been written in a clearly male voice it is read with a female voice, at times, this just sounds wrong. Smith manages to overcme his anxiety of being below the surface to uncover an illuminating history of London's dark and distant past.
He has organized it from the oldest the rivers to recent underground construction projects. Indeed, one of the great delights of this book is his depictions of these people, as much as the stories they reveal about those pars of London usually hidden from sight. The book is lively and packed with historical curiosities, such as the tunnels the royal family were supposed to escape with during the war should Hitler invade to Charing Cross and then to Paddington via the circle line, train to Bristol and boat to Canada - whilst Churchill's government would have retreted to a secret bunker in Dollis Hill. Paul's, the Monument, the Stock Exchange. It's really readable, often entertaining, and well written. Having been to London, I was familiar with some of the names so I could visualize while reading. The British English was fun but occasionally puzzling to this American reader.
But unfortunately the writer was so dry that it was a slog to finish. These chapters are interesting but they didn't captivate me as much as the first two did. The idea of talking about an underground london - a world beneath our feet that we rarely think about or even know about, its a fantastic idea. To a certain extent this book does answer some of those questions, but I did find the organization a bit wacky. In the black museum of the Customs House, he hears tales of international bird-rustlers and heroin-packed gherkins. As an afterthought I also felt the book was very egocentric.
It seemed a well-meaning tribute not to readers or the subject matter but to a guide who had done Smith a big favor in letting him tour a normally off-limits area, nevermind that it didn't turn out to be as worthwhile as rumored. I felt that he was trying much to hard to impress some high-falutin' journalistic or literary crowd; I consider myself very well educated, with an extensive vocabulary, but I hate when people use big words unnecessarily. Definitely a case of looking worse than it smells. This evokes the subterranean regions of the capital from the murky depths of the sewage system to the buried treasures of the centuries of inhabitation of this stretch of the Thames. However, I did find his jokes against the many people with whom he shared his underground voyages, and to whom he was indebted Of course this book was interesting: fascinating even. After looking at this criss-cross of mines and tunnels, Smith looks at the London water supply - the Thames is a mighty river flowing through the midst of London, but is far from the only water source, and both feeds and is fed by underground streams and currents of all sorts. If you can overcome that, it's an effective taster to the subject, though probably one to borrow from your library as I did rather than buy.
De nationalité américaine, il a été journaliste spécialiste de l'Afrique ou éditeur pour différents organes de presse français dont Libération, Le Monde, Radio France International et Reuters. He explores tube stations and the now-defunct Mail Rail, the miniature railway that once transported twelve million letters a day. This is 'alternative' history at its best. I'd have rather had more history, more details, and fewer chatty descriptions of his car trips, meals and the like. I had a flash of Gringotts when he got to this, and the few stories he related about people there were particularly heart-wrenching. However Smith writes from an observational point of view as oppose to a historical one. But unfortunately the writer was so dry that it was a slog to finish.