Short history of the city I grew up in. Lots of great historical information, stories, and pictures. Not too detailed, due to its length, but still fe...moreShort history of the city I grew up in. Lots of great historical information, stories, and pictures. Not too detailed, due to its length, but still feels comprehensive enough. My only complaint is that it lacked almost any information about the city post-WWII, which is not that surprising, consider how it's generally been a pretty quiet place.
Overall, a nice short, focused, history. Kudos to the folks at Arcadia Publishing who have worked to capture local history around the country -- I think it has tremendous value, and they have done it well (at least from my perspective)(less)
This book was everything I had hoped Maphead to be. Where that book focused on the people who love maps, this book focused on the maps themselves, and...moreThis book was everything I had hoped Maphead to be. Where that book focused on the people who love maps, this book focused on the maps themselves, and I enjoyed it all the more for that reason. It also had pictures of the maps actually printed in the book itself! What a thought!
The book goes chronologically from past to present, starting with Greeks and Romans, continuing through the Dark Ages, Renaissance, spends quite a bit of time in the New World before settling on modern life, finishing up with Skyrim and Google Maps. While I'm more of a historical map buff, and the last few chapters weren't as interesting, the book was engaging from start to finish, and it was an excellent choice.
Highly recommending to map loves of any age or inclination; lots of fun history included for free!(less)
This was one of the must fun books I have read in a long time! Mark Forsyth offers up an incredible number of anecdotes and stories about the origins...moreThis was one of the must fun books I have read in a long time! Mark Forsyth offers up an incredible number of anecdotes and stories about the origins of the words and phrases we use in everyday life. Thoroughly enjoyable, whether reading just a few pages, or a longer section. Even if you aren't a big word buff, the historical tales were amusing and enjoyable to read.
The only reason this drops a star is because it's just a little too un-serious for me. There's a lot of wordplay in the text (I guess that's to be expected), and he plays fast and loose with the sourcing (he admits as much in the back, but still). It's not a serious, scholarly work, but I imagine that's a plus for most people.
Regardless, I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone who speaks English -- that's you! -- but you don't even have to read the whole thing. The book is formatted in small pieces (typically 2-3 pages) which make it a great book to pick up during lunch or a break. I guarantee you'll learn something new! (i.e., "Guarantee" and "Warranty" came from the same origin word, because in Medieval times, the "g" and "w" sounds were often confused!)(less)
This book is about as pop-history as you can get. It's kind of like the reality show equivalent of a true historical/cultural book. No citations, lots...moreThis book is about as pop-history as you can get. It's kind of like the reality show equivalent of a true historical/cultural book. No citations, lots of throwaway facts, lots of feelings and random observations that I did not care for. I don't think the book was poorly researched -- quite the opposite -- but I think it could have been written with a little more serious audience in mind.
At the same time, the topic is so fascinating, that it would be hard for me to not read this book. London is an intriguing city, I love history, and urban archaeology is a growing interest of mine, so this book absolutely piqued my interest. There were so many fascinating facts and stories about the past -- did you know there are fully forty-four unused tube stations?? -- I learned something random and new on every page.
Could have been even better, but still a fun read regardless.(less)