Dr Green’s New Book OUT NOW

June 3, 2015
by matthewgreen

I’m very excited to say that my new book, London: A Travel Guide Through Time is OUT NOW, published by Penguin.

  • You can buy copies from Amazon here.
  • You can buy copies from elsewhere here. 

The book takes the reader on an historical joyride through a thousand years of London’s history.

At the start of each chapter, the reader stumbles across a portal in the 21st-century city, and is catapulted back to an extraordinary period in London’s history, be it the age of Shakespeare, medieval city life, the plague, coffeehouses, the Victorian megalopolis or the post-Blitz recovery.

From there, you are guided on an immersive whirlwind tour, soaking up the sights, sounds and smells of an alien yet eerily familiar city, and meeting some eccentric characters who embody the zeitgeist of each age.

In the book, we’ll turn back the clock to the time of Shakespeare and visit a savage bull and bear baiting arena on Bankside. In medieval London, we’ll circle the ancient walls as the city lies barricaded under curfew. Spinning further forward in time we’ll inhale the ‘holy herb’ in an early tobacco house, before peering into an open plague pit.

In the 18th century we’ll navigate the streets in style with a ride on a sedan chair, and when we land in Victorian London, we’ll head straight for the ‘vilest street in the civilized world’, the pornography-ridden Holywell Street, then take a tour of freak-show booths and meet the Elephant Man.

Elsewhere, we’ll take a tour the riverside palaces of the Strand in medieval London, watch pigs’ bladders brimming with blood explode on the stage of the Globe, brave the torturous wiles of an Elizabethan labyrinth in Drapers’ Gardens, watch a beheading at Tower Hill, visit those who have fallen out of wit in Bedlam, dabble in some poverty porn (or slumming, as they called it) in Victorian Whitechapel, have a whisky with Mary Quant in her King’s Road boutique in the 1950s, sip coffee on a coffin in Le Macabre espresso bar in Soho, and relive the horrors of the Blitz.

The book is written in the second person, present tense, for immediacy, with events unfurling around you. At the end of each chapter, you are returned to the present day, where you trace echoes of the past in the twenty-first century city.

A distillation of years of research into the history of London, unusual in its subject matter, and festooned with exquisite illustrations by Alice Smith, if you’ve ever enjoyed an Unreal City tour, you’re bound to love the book. I hope it will be as fun to read as it was to write.

Once again, the book costs £12.99 and can be pre-ordered here.

It hits the shelves on the 18th June.

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