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review 2014-08-31 11:49
Return to London
Return to London - Terence Jenkins

by Terrence Jenkins

 

The enthusiasm of the author is immediately apparent in the way he launches right into the history of the area of London from The Elephant and Castle to Clapham Common with little introduction. Almost too much information comes at the reader rapid fire before getting a chance to settle into the narrative and the feel of the book.

 

Despite this exhausting barrage of history and facts, the reader is drawn into the world of 1940 London and a little known bombing incident in a trench on the Common. From there we learn about the embankment and the film and other associations with some of the buildings there.

 

The book goes on to explain the difference and origins of Kennington and Kensington, how the Black prince got his epithet, and several facts about Croydon that I hadn't known.

 

The book is entertaining and what it lacks in delivery is made up for in pure facts and detailed information.

 

The tour carries on in Bermondsey and to Jacob street where Nancy from Oliver Twist met her death and other literary associations with the area. There are detailed descriptions of monuments and churches, as well as some very good pictures of the areas covered.

 

This is not a book to sit and read in one sitting, but one to savor and assimilate the information over several reading sessions. We are regaled with the notoriety of Blackfriars Bridge, told the origins of the word 'piccadilly', which I've often wondered about, and learn about King John's menagerie of exotic beasts which were once kept in the Tower of London.

 

Apart from the Dickensian associations, we learn other literary facts such as that the original print run for Moby Dick was only 3000 copies, most of which never sold. It rather puts today's independent book sales into perspective!

 

This is a book I will read again, especially just before any trips to London when I might want to visit significant places. There's a wealth of information about London's history with many little known details that make the book particularly fascinating. Highly recommended for History buffs especially.

 

 

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review 2014-08-29 17:30
Return to London
Return to London - Terence Jenkins

(I got an e-copy through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review.)

A fast and interesting read, with plenty of little details and usually unknown facts about quite a few places in London. As someone who's visited this city a couple of times only, but likes learning about it, and is always looking for a "quirkier" kind of tourism than the basic monuments and museums, this is definitely going to be useful at some point. Another good thing here is the author's tone, who clearly loves this city, as well, and it shows (in a positive way, that is).

The book might not hold as much appeal to a reader who's never foot in London, though, because it rests on unspoken previous spoken knowledge of the various districts: some details can only be fully understood when you know a bit about this or that borough, how it came to be, and so on. I wouldn't recommend it as a "London 101" introduction book.

Also, I would've liked a few more pictures. There's usually one per chapter, while said chapters deal with so many more places than just a couple. (Granted, I read it on the Kindle app on my small-screen Smartphone; not the smartest move ever—no pun intended.)

Pick this one if you're planning a trip to London, want to discover more about its history, and are interested in seeing less travelled places there.

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review 2014-08-21 08:36
Return To London
Return to London - Terence Jenkins

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review, thank you!

 

Return to London is a short book filled with little chunks of London history and a guide to lesser known parts of London. Granted, when I visited last year, I actually went to see some of the places mentioned in this book, but others I had not yet heard of. 

 

One thing I noticed immediately when I started reading is that Terence Jenkins really has a passion for the city, which makes it so much better to read about it. His entries are short, making it easy to read one or a few at a time. Some history is given, but never too much so you don't loose interest.

 

Every entry is accompanied by one picture, it is only that sometimes I thought there could have been some more, as he tends to describe multiple things and I'd like to be able to visualise all of them. But this is just a minor complaint. I think it's a nice book when you're about to travel to London, some places you would normally walk past are worth a quick look.

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review 2014-08-13 19:49
Nice
Return to London - Terence Jenkins

Disclaimer: ARC read via Netgalley.

 

                Terrance Jenkins’s short eBook is about strange or little visited facts and places around London. This includes the area where you can sit with Keats as well as several places connected to tragedies that occurred during the Blitz. The book is filled with humor (including a football joke or two. A real football joke or two) and history. Pictures are included.  The only thing missing a map showing the locations of the places he writes about. Jenkins’s descriptions, however, are well done that finding them should be easy enough.

                While the writing may not be up to the level of Peter Ackroyd in his poems to London, Jenkins's love for the city is just as real and palpable, making the book a joy as well as a quick read. If you have ever been to London or are planning to visit this book is worth picking up.

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