There is no shortage of books about London – either histories of the whole city or of specific districts, works on particular aspects of its life and culture, or illustrated books of varying degrees of quality.
The titles listed here are my favourite histories of the city; each has something different to offer and all are accessible by everyone from the casual reader to the professional historian.
- London in the 19th Century: Jerry White. A stunning overview of how London became the world’s first ‘megalopolis’ – the biggest city that the world had ever known.
- London, A Social History: Roy Porter. A wonderful evocation of life in the city over the past hundreds of years.
- London, the Biography: Peter Ackroyd. Regarded as slightly weak by some historians, this is a fantastically atmospheric book; the history of the city told with a novelist’s sensibilities.