A Journey Through Ruins: The Last Days of London

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9780091731908: A Journey Through Ruins: The Last Days of London

A unique evocation of Britain at the height of Margaret Thatcher's rule, A Journey Through Ruins views the transformation of the country through the unexpected prism of every day life in East London. Written at a time when the looming but still unfinished tower of Canary Wharf was still wrapped in protective blue plastic, its cast of characters includes council tenants trapped in disintegrating tower blocks, depressed gentrifiers worrying about negative equity, metal detectorists, sharp-eyed estate agents and management consultants, and even Prince Charles. Written half a century after the blitz, the book reviews the rise and fall of the London of the post-war settlement. It remains one of the very best accounts of what it was like to live through the Thatcher years. This reissue includes a new introduction revisiting the book's East End starting point in Dalston Lane, four additional chapters, and an insert of photographs taken in and around Dalston in the year of the book's first appearance.

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About the Author:


Patrick Wright is the author of a number of highly acclaimed best-selling history books, including The Village that Died for England, Tank (described by Simon Schama as "a tour de force"), and Iron Curtain (which John le Carre called "a work of wit, style and waggish erudition").

Review:


"Essential reading."--iD


"Astute and imaginative.... An immensly heartening book.... Here is a city dweller with the gusto of Baudelaire and the eye of Jane Jacobs who, undeterred, enjoys the chaotic humanity, the ironic architectural juxtapositions, the espirit de jeu of late twentieth century London."--David Widgery, Independent on Sunday


"Sheer good writing, sense and humanity."--Andrew Saint, Times Literary Supplement


"A funny and perceptive book which is part oral history and part journalism, part generalization and part scholarship--an intriguing and attractive amalgam."--Peter Ackroyd, The Times (UK)


"There is no space in a short review to give more than a hint of the intellectual delights of this book. Witty, well written and superbly stimulating, it is a must for everybody's reading list."--Victor Belcher, English Heritage Magazine


"Patrick Wright is a wandering, disestablished scholar whose method is to walk and talk."--Neal Ascherson, London Review of Books


"This is a formidable polemic that describes a realist's vision of a Britain under private affluence amid public squalor."--Matthew Bray, Financial Times


"Patrick Wright is an incisive thinker, a man of laudable principles and a skilful writer of punchy journalistic prose."--Charles Bourne, Hempstead & Highgate Express


"Wright belongs in a select club of literary sleuths who have imagined London as a labyrinth of strange affinities.... A pin-sharp miniaturist who can see the world in a grain of sand."--Boyd Tonkin, Observer (UK)


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