London, I think, is done a great disservice in this dreary biography of the city. I liked the idea of a thematic rather than a chronological approach, but Ackroyd's droning and unenthusiastic tone quickly spoiled the appeal. There is no overall sense of London as a living, breathing organism. Intriguing snippets of history are buried here and there, but mostly the author simply presents a litany of facts, too many facts trotted out monotonously one after another, or sensationally teased in tabloid-style. In either case disjointed facts do little to illuminate this rather murky history.
Ackroyd's bio of London is widely considered to be 'the' book about this spectacular city. The narrative in informative and intimate, breathing life into the history and geography of one of the greatest cities in the pantheon of European cities. A must read for Anglophiles and students of English history!