London: A City Revealed

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Overview

A splendid pictorial homage to one of the world's great capital cities.

This elegant, photo-laden volume celebrates the finest of London. Scores of photographs capture all that draws visitors to the city--the splendid architecture, the royal pageantry, the spacious parks, the vast selection of stylish shops and bustling markets, and nearly 2,000 years of history. Here is London in all its diversity--from the ancient remains of old Londinium at the Barbican to the ultra-modern ...

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Overview

A splendid pictorial homage to one of the world's great capital cities.

This elegant, photo-laden volume celebrates the finest of London. Scores of photographs capture all that draws visitors to the city--the splendid architecture, the royal pageantry, the spacious parks, the vast selection of stylish shops and bustling markets, and nearly 2,000 years of history. Here is London in all its diversity--from the ancient remains of old Londinium at the Barbican to the ultra-modern growth of the Docklands, the naval heritage of Greenwich to the majesty of Windsor Castle. A book to revisit again and again.

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Editorial Reviews

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The Barnes & Noble Review

London is the greatest city in the world.

I hold strong views on this subject.

With the exception of New York and Santa Monica, California, I've passed more days and nights in London than anywhere else in the world. I know the city and I love showing it off, in all its grandeur and homey variety, to foot-weary friends.

There are probably more books, of both words and pictures, about London than about any other city on the planet, and each one can present a different view of London. Simply because there is so much there, London shows a different face to every observer.

The editors of LONDON: A CITY REVEALED have concentrated on monumental London, stately London, royal London — there isn't a fish-and-chip shop or a pint of lager anywhere in sight — and, by drawing on photos and other illustrations from a wide variety of sources, they've assembled an extraordinarily handsome book, in oversize format, that brings this aspect of London, at least, to very impressive life.

The book is generally organized as a sweeping journey from west to east along the Thames. At the beginning of the visual tour, there's a breathtaking aerial view of Hampton Court with the trees around it glowing in autumn colors. After visits to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and Richmond Park, we come into the city itself.

Here are the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Albert Hall, its stately and rather stolid exterior in sharp contrast to another image of flag-waving fans at the Last Night of the Proms. After the impressive food halls at Harrods, the book offers one ofLondon'smany surprises, the restful view of the British countryside preserved in Hyde Park and a field of yellow daffodils near Marble Arch in the very heart of London.

Two photos in particular are representative of the book. The picture of Buckingham Palace shows a gray, overcast sky that produces the kind of beautiful, silvery light one sees so often in London. Another, a two-page spread of the Houses of Parliament, shows the golden light of morning on its riverside facade, every detail as crisp and perfect as a finely worked jewel. And don't miss the tiny plane in the deep blue sky.

Many other sights are just as familiar but are equally well-done. Westminster Cathedral is viewed from Dean's Yard, the best vantage point of all, and Trafalgar Square is seen from the main entrance of the National Gallery as one looks across the open space and down Whitehall toward Parliament Square, seeing them all in relation to each other.

There's a striking shot of the balconies inside everybody's favorite store, Liberty's; an equally handsome view of the Tower of London and Tower Bridge and on past there to the newly developed areas of Canary Wharf and the Docklands; and on again eastward with pictures of the Royal Naval College at Greenwich and the engineering marvel (or monstrosity, depending on your view) of the Thames Flood Barrier at Woolwich.

Then the book backtracks a bit to include some South Bank sights (the South Bank Arts Centre and the replica of Shakespeare's Globe Theatre) and then heads northward to my London with pictures of the British Museum, Bedford Square, Russell Square, and Regent's Park, and then farther north still to Hampstead and Highgate.

Across pages 164 and 165 is a picture taken in Russell Square of Bloomsbury. A gentleman sits reading on a wooden bench. Looming behind him through the trees is the red brick facade of the Hotel Russell. (Remember the lyrics from "Cats:" "Up, up, up past the Russell Hotel.") In London, I live within five minutes of that spot and have many times eaten my lunch and sat reading on that very bench.

Amidst all the monuments, all the grandeur and elegance, all the history and variety of London, this great city has countless such spots. And the editors of LONDON: A CITY REVEALED, though their focus lay elsewhere, could not help but record some of them, too.

No book — no lifetime! — could contain all of London, but LONDON: A CITY REVEALED vividly captures the more regal face of this great metropolis. The pictures are handsomely reproduced, the text is well written, informative, and filled with anecdotes, and the book does justice, as well as any single book can, to its magnificent subject.

—Alan Ryan

Library Journal
The striking differences between these two delightful books add to their pleasure-and value. London: A City Revealed shares points of interest on a grand scale, while The London Companion is compact and quirky. The author of an earlier volume in Robson's "Companion" series (The Cook's Companion), Swinnerton presents tidbits of information, e.g., where is London's center or who turns on Oxford Street's Christmas lights? In addition, she offers fascinating lists, such as "Classic Tales of London," "Modern Tales of London," and "Top Ten Towers." Wittily, page numbers offer answers to trivia-page 144, for example: "The number of swimming pools in London." The larger book, A City Revealed is bursting with gorgeous pictures, including several four-page spreads. Their composition is stunning: an exterior shot of the Tate Modern naturally frames St. Paul's in the distance; lavish cherry blossoms enhance and soften a city block. Photographs of people, both locals and tourists (like those feeling a bit intimidated as they ride the London Eye, 443 feet above the Thames!), further brighten a lively compendium. History, geography, architecture, and relevant people: it's all here, in concise and often humorous entries, adapted from the text of Christopher Catling's AA Explorer London. Both books demonstrate that London's fascination stems from its contrasts, which include its ethnic diversity, its traditions, and its cityscape; both belong in most libraries and in all collections on London or England.-Susan G. Baird, Chicago Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Booknews
A visual tribute to the Great Gritty City by the Riverside, mostly large, bright, color photographs and paintings of historical buildings and scenes, including some fold-out pages. Organized conveniently for the visitor into sections on the four quarters of the city. The text is adapted from Christopher Catling's Explorer London, offered by the publishing arm of the Automobile Association in 1994. No bibliography. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780760786376
  • Publisher: Sterling
  • Publication date: 12/30/2006
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 10.50 (w) x 12.25 (h) x 0.81 (d)

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 12, 2009

    A Joy to read- makes me want to go back again and again...

    As a first-timer to London, I thought I had visited all the major sites most frequented by tourists: cheesy photo with a red phone booth- check, Tower of London- check, London Eye- check. What I didn't know was that there were an endless amount of other things I completely missed out on: Hampton Court Palace, Kew Gardens, and other fabulous places that are beautifully captured in this book. What makes this such a compelling read is that, while it catalogues famous sites, it also reveals other places that cannot be missed. I flip through the pages, yearning to go back and visit picturesque Richmond-upon-Thames, Highgate, or Regent's Park, all treasures outlying one of Europe's greatest cities. It was sitting in the bargain bin, although it is certainly worth more than the $3 I paid (shhh!). The pictures were beautiful!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    Great Book - Fantastic Pictures

    Having visited many times this edition brought back many fond memories and spiked desire to return to visit new places.

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