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Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City
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Building Jerusalem: The Rise and Fall of the Victorian City

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  57 Ratings  ·  9 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
Hardcover, 592 pages
Published December 27th 2005 by Metropolitan Books (first published 2004)
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Dec 15, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Alex Csicsek
May 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 20, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 18, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century, cities
This marvelous history takes us through the low and high points of the development of the British cities of the 19th century. The Industrial Revolution greatly expanded the urban population, but also brought with it poverty and dismal living conditions among the new underclass. Hunt shows how individuals with a Catholic or Non-Conformist background initiated urban reform on a broad scale that included public buildings, city planning, culture and social services. It is a fascinating story told wi ...more
Feb 18, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 19th-century, history
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
Nov 12, 2007 rated it really liked it
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
Jun 04, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
David Cowhig
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Nice blending of social history of 19th century England and the cities it produced.
Jun 28, 2009 rated it it was ok
A lot of interesting info... never really went anywhere
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Goodreads Librari...: Cover image quality 1 17 May 01, 2016 11:35AM  
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
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