Suggested Reading List
Divorced, Beheaded, Died...: The History of Britain's Kings and Queens in Bite-Sized Chunks
Author: Kevin Flude
Description: Written by the course director Kevin Flude. The tales of the various monarchs of Britain are some of the most interesting in our history. From Henry VIII and his six wives and Edward VIII's abdication to some of our lesser known and mythical monarchs such as King Arthur, "Divorced, Beheaded, Died..." takes you on a gallop through the history of Britain's monarchs from the legendary King Brutus, through the houses of Tudor and Stuart, and up to the Windsors, including the major monarchs of Scotland and Wales. Discover the sticky end that befell Edward II, the story of the teenage queen of England who reigned for less than a fortnight, and find out whether Macbeth really was a king of Scotland. Presented in an accessible, chronological format, "Divorced, Beheaded, Died..." will fill all those gaps in your history knowledge, together with some fascinating and amusing facts that are guaranteed to entertain any history enthusiast.
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Description: Available in audio-cassette form: ISBN 0679443819 - fiction but gives a real feel for the period. London has perhaps the most remarkable history of any city in the world. Now, its story has a unique voice. In this epic novel, Edward Rutherfurd takes the reader on a magnificent journey across sixteen centuries from the days of the Romans to the Victorian engineers of Tower Bridge and the era of Dockland development today. Through the lives and adventures of his colourful cast of characters, he brings all the richness of London's past unforgettably to life.
London - The Biography
Author: Peter Ackroyd
Description: Probably there is no one better placed than Ackroyd--the author of mammoth lives of Dickens and Blake, and novels such as Hawksmoor and Dan Leno and the Lime House Golem which set singular characters against the backdrop of a city constantly shifting in time--to write such a rich, sinewy account of "Infinite London".
Ackroyd's London is no mere chronology. Its chapters take on such varied themes as drinking, sex, childhood, poverty, crime and punishment, sewage, food, pestilence and fire, immigration, maps, theatre and war. We learn that gin was "the demon of London for half a century", and that "it has been estimated that in the 1740s and 1750s there were 17,000 'gin-houses'." Fleet Street was an area known for its "violent delights" where "a 14-year-old boy, only 18 inches high, was to be seen in 1702 at a grocer's shop called the Eagle and Child by Shoe Lane." By the mid 19th century "London had become known as the greatest city on earth." By 1939 "one in five of the British population had become a Londoner."
London A Social History
Author: Roy Porter
Description: 'Roy Porter, a historian of formidable range, turns to urban history in this marvellously lucid, informative and passionate book... Porter's facts are always at the service of the narrative, which has a finely maintained momentum, balancing statistics with the words of historians, diarists and novelists, poets and churchmen: Pepys, Boswell, Fielding, Walpole, Blake, Mayhew, Wells, Woolf, Spark, ... a timely and brilliant book.' CLAIRE TOMALIN, EVENING STANDARD 'A vivid celebration of the city, but also an elegy for its decline, bubbling with statistics and anecdote, from Boadicea to Betjeman.' RICHARD HOLMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH BOOKS OF THE YEAR