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Underground Overground: A Passenger's History of the Tube

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  176 ratings  ·  30 reviews
An entertaining and enlightening social history of the world's most famous underground railway

Why is the Victoria Line so hot? What is an Electrical Multiple Unit? Is it really possible to ride from Kings Cross to Kings Cross on the Circle line?The London Underground is the oldest, most sprawling and illogical metropolitan transport system in the world, the result of a ser
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 2012 by Profile Books (first published April 26th 2012)
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London's Labyrinth by Fiona RuleUnderground  Overground by Andrew MartinLondon Under by Peter AckroydLondon's Dead by Ed GlinertThe Ghost Map by Steven Johnson
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 443)
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Paul Cheney
This is a light overview of the history of the tube from someone who carries his anorak over his arm rather than wearing it.

He looks into the early development of the tube, and some of the significant characters who made the Tube what it is today. But what makes this book something other than another Tube history is the way he weaves in his own journeys to the narrative.

I enjoyed it, but couldn't give it five stars as it was missing that extra something.
Frances Thompson
A strong 4.5 for this entertainingly written history of the London Underground by a Tube-enthusiast who's neither a native Londoner nor someone who has worked on the network. His interested sprouted from a boyhood fascination with the underground trains when he would visit from York for the day and it was many years later as a London-based journalist that his editing of the Tube Talk column in the London newspaper Evening Standard cemented some deep rooted love for the London Underground.

Excellent book about the Underground very well written in a chatty sort of way. I have read all Andrew Martin's fiction books and always enjoyed them so was pleased this non fiction was as interesting
Clare O'Beara
I feel that this book will be of more interest to the serious railway devotee, which is why I'm not giving it more stars.

There is plenty of history, from the first tunnelling efforts on. Now it seems amazing that each line was independently financed and dug, in competition and privately run. The main point of the Tube was to let poor people move a few miles out of the slums and still get to work cheaply. This encouraged city sprawl. As the city got busier, horse and carriage or cart traffic-blo
Belinda G
I had heard good things about this book but it didn't live up to my expectations. I've been fascinated by the Underground for a long time, though I've never been on it (I will in March though!)
I felt like the author's anecdotes were like listening to your weird uncle- I have a few of them, I know what they sound like!- ramble on about things they think are funny/interesting which really aren't to the rest of humanity. (Side note- one of my weird uncles has written a book about petrol stations.
Gavin Felgate
I am fascinated by the London Underground system, and from reading this book it quite clear that so is writer Andrew Martin.

Here, he records the full history of the building of the Underground, from when it was first conceived to the present day, and you can tell that he is very knowledgeable about his source material. I found some bits more interesting than others; I enjoyed reading about the stations themselves and the layout of the system, and was less interested with all the details about ho
Colin Acton
Enjoyed the book overall, but sometimes felt as if the topics were a bit jumbled up rather than planned.
Did you know that modern disability discrimination legislation specifies a 'thirty point colour contrast' to be used in carriage interiors, which limits the design possibilities of tube trains? Just one of the minor but somehow fascinating facts I picked up from this book. An enjoyable ramble through the history, rumours, myths and byways of the London Underground system; the history is perhaps the weakest part as it doesn't make much sense without maps or a good knowledge of London geography, b ...more
An enjoyable and reasonably comprehensive history of the London Underground, for tube geek and tube novice alike. Well-written and engaging, I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with a passing interest in the tube, or anyone who uses it on a daily basis; sometimes you just need a little knowledge of something to make you despise it less! It may be a little basic for the true tube geek (I already knew some of what was described), but an all-round interesting read.
Gabor Hernadi
An entertaining and enjoyable history of London Underground. If you like the Tube or interested in underground trains, read it.
Fascinating insight into how the London underground has become the untamed and sprawling beast that it is today. This book has assisted in making me more observant at certain stations and appreciate all the hard work and lost lives that have been involved in the Tubes evolving design and architecture . Happy 150 years London Underground!
Jan Jackson
I like Andrew Martin. I like trains. This one is a fact fest; numbers and distances come hurtling at your retina like something on the Bakerloo. It was interesting, but as much as he tried to make it personable, it was all too business-like. But then I guess that's the Tube for you; not a place for character these days...
Hayley Gullen
An enjoyable history of the Tube and some of the personalities which drove its development. A bit technical in places, but that was offset nicely by the intriguing anecdotes. I haven't read any other books about the Tube, but I thought this was a good introduction to its eccentricities and labyrinthine past.
For the most part an interesting read without being too technical. However one big drawback for me was not one map of the underground is included which if you like to visualise things as I do, meant I had to keep looking at the map. I enjoyed the anecdotes in the Londoners chapter and reading about the fake houses.
Book Addict Shaun
An enjoyable read although I wasn't a huge fan of the writer's style and found myself skipping past bits of the book. I love the London Underground though and tend to read anything and everything I can about it. As well as spending 90% of my time during visits to London on the Underground. #TubeNerd.
What a choice to read. Anyway, after getting used to the author's odd style of quoting just about anything, I ended up enjoying it. It made a pleasant change to read about other people's obsessions and the history of something we all just take for granted.
I thought I was interested in reading a history of the London Underground, I thought wrong. That said, Martin is a good writer with engaging voice; it's the detail that bogged me down.
Teisha Buick
Really enjoyable book. Plenty of facts and loads of funny quips and anecdotes. Reader's tip: Always have a Pocket Tube map handy, if you're going to read it.
Couldn't finish this one - got about 50 pages through it. The author is a bit of a smarty-pants and I found him insufferable. It went back to the library.
Fascinating, mildly eccentric and very witty history of the Tube and of course by that, I mean London. Built and designed by Americans, it turns out...
Loved this - a really 'readable' history of the tube which has got me looking twice at the stations I travel through on my way to work.
A well written book on the London Underground system. Not much more that I can say about it, but I found it informative and enjoyable.
Awesome. For Tube nerds like me, and for others, I think everybody could enjoy this book. Looking forward to read more from him.
Lee Oman
Entertaining in parts but way too much technical jiggery pokery in between. Sorry!
Kieran Neylon
Too much "facts and figures", not enough "quirky anecdotes".
Not a page turner, but interesting and well written, I learnt a lot!
A very well documented history of the Tube.
Patricia Mcgovern
Just couldn't get into this book at all:(
Chatty, anecdotal, entertaining.
Great book.
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

Andrew Martin (born 6 July 1962) is an English novelist and journalist.

Martin was brought up in Yorkshire, studied at the University of Oxford and qualified as a barrister. He has since worked as a freelance journalist for a number of publications while writing novels, sta
More about Andrew Martin...
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