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Much of Peter Ackroyd’s work has been concerned with the life and past of London but here, as a culmination, is his definitive account of the city. For him it is a living organism, with its own laws of growth and change, so London is a biography rather than a history. It differs from other histories, too, in the range and diversity of its contents. Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the Druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. There are chapters on the history of silence and the history of light, the history of childhood and the history of suicide, the history of Cockney speech and the history of drink.
London is perhaps the most important study of the city ever written, and confirms Ackroyd’s status as what one critic has called ‘our age’s greatest London imagination.’
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Paul is a British television producer and director, who was the first person to screen a film on the Coca-Cola billboard at Piccadilly Circus. His latest projects include: working with the Museum of Homelessness on an installation project to tackle stereotypes about homeless people (September 2018); and delivering a Video Diary Workshop at the Museum of London as part of CityRead London, a campaign to encourage reading and library use in the capital by highlighting one book for Londoners to read in one month (May 2019).