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Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  40 ratings  ·  7 reviews
From Manchester's deadly cotton works to London's literary salons, a brilliant exploration of how the Victorians created the modern city

Since Charles Dickens first described Coketown in Hard Times, the nineteenth-century city, born of the industrial revolution, has been a byword for deprivation, pollution, and criminality. Yet, as historian Tristram Hunt argues in this po
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Hardcover, 592 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Metropolitan Books (first published 2004)
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Lizixer
Reading this book I wonder why Labour have Tristram Hunt as Shadow education and not fronting down Pickles and his crew so intent on destroying local government.

A readable walk through of the ideas and people who shaped ideas of municipal government in our big cities in the 19thC, full of men in monocles building civic pride and tireless campaigners against laissez-faire management and the Shopocracy ( my new favourite history word), all of whom wanted the cities to reflect the best values of Vi
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Alex Csicsek
Tristram Hunt, better known as Labour MP and sometimes-Guardian columnist, offers a survey of conceptions of the city as it underwent rapid and seismic change in the Victorian era. This isn't a timeline history of industrialisation and urbanisation, but an exploration of how both the elite and popular society understood the new urban bohemoths springing up across Britain.

The space of a generation saw the greatest shift ever in the way the British lived. The new cities and their industries revolu
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Marri
Considering its rave reviews, I found this book rather disappointing. Only those who enjoy reading history as a list of white businessmen-politicians and the buildings they erected will find something for them in Building Jerusalem. The tidbits of biography and historical detail nipped from primary sources are unfortunately too far between, and the meandering structure demands much of the reader to get from oasis to oasis. For the casual reader, it's a bit lengthy and its message of the necessit ...more
Leslie
This isn't about the lived reality of Victorian cities but about the ideas informing the shape of the city and how people, especially people of influence, envisioned the city and what it meant to live in one. Victorians really believed in the possibilities of urban life and the importance of maintaining, or creating, vibrant city spaces. They didn't always succeed (to put it mildly), but they thought of cities as exciting places where great things could happen, places that fostered civic involve ...more
Mary
Nov 13, 2007 Mary rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people already hooked on English cities & their history
I think the title is a mistake--a grabber for fans of William Blake and Monty Python, but maybe a turn-off for other prospective readers. Which is too bad, because the book is unusually lively for a 500-page history of English cities and how they grew. Lots more foreign influences than I suspected--on the architecture, most intriguingly to me. The political ups and downs of Gothic, for instance. You have to be ready to skip chunks about things you already know about or don't care about, and ling ...more
Martin Petchey
Stimulating and enjoyable; a great help in understanding the development of our major cities. Issues: concentrates too much on a few cities - Manchester, Birmingham - to the exclusion of other provincial towns and cities, and does not spend enough time on London; far too hard on suburbs and new towns, which is where most people live, and more significantly, where they want to live.
Jack
A lot of interesting info... never really went anywhere
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Tristram Hunt is the author of Marx’s General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels and Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City. One of Britain’s leading young historians, he writes regularly for The Guardian, The Observer, and The Times, and has broadcast numerous series for the BBC. A lecturer in history at the University of London, Hunt represents Stoke-on-Trent in the ...more
More about Tristram Hunt...
Marx's General: The Revolutionary Life of Friedrich Engels Cities of Empire: The British Colonies and the Creation of the Urban World The English Civil War: At First Hand Cozumel Ten Cities That Made an Empire

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