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The best of both: Thames: A Biography

By Jessica Schneider Mar 29, 2009, 20:14 GMT

The best of both: Thames: A Biography

In this perfect companion to London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd once again delves into the hidden byways of history, describing the river’s endless allure in a journey overflowing with characters, incidents, and wry observations. Thames: The Biography meanders gloriously, rather like the river itself. In short, lively chapters Ackroyd writes about connections between the Thames and such historical figures as Julius Caesar and Henry the VIII, and offers memorable portraits ...more

Who said that a bio has to be about a person, right? I have a review up of this book, which I think evokes the best of nature and historical writing.

In my review I state: “One cannot deny the beauty, myth, and wonder of the Thames, although with romance comes history: the disease, death and crime. Ultimately, civilization has been shaped by the river, not the other way around. Thames: A Biography addresses it all, the pretty and the not so pretty, and does so thoroughly and without apology, leaving much to marvel at afterward.”

Readable and historical, I came away learning a whole bunch.

PW has said: “Elegant and erudite, Ackroyd's gathering of rich treats does the famed tributary proud.”

My review can be found here. Published by Nan A. Talese, the book finishes at 512 pages, yet is full of maps and fascinating photos. If geography is your thing, give it a whirl.

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