From London into the Past

Staff PicksMartin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central Library

From London into the Past

Over the summer, I joined a small group tour of Great Britain that started in London. It was a great two weeks! I enjoyed exploring the cities and towns where we stopped along the way. Below is a selection of books I read before I went on the tour.  Copies are available from the library system.

The English and Their History by Robert Tombs
In this concise volume, the history of the English nation is traced from early medieval times to 2014. The author looks at the people and events that shaped the English as well as language; the relationship between monarchy and Parliament, religion, literature, and more. Plates of colored period illustrations and photographs are included.

London: A History by A.N. Wilson
In this book, discover how London developed from a Roman settlement into a major capital city.  The author provides fascinating descriptions of city life and how London would have appeared to residents and visitors during major historical periods. This short and informative book is a good introduction to the city.

Thames: the Biography by Peter Ackroyd
Sail through the British countryside on the River Thames!  The author begins at the river's source and finishes in London. The Thames was and remains a source of commerce, transportation, leisure, literary inspiration, and more. There's also a fascinating section on alternate topography.  Period illustrations and photographs are included.

Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson
Before moving back to the United States with his family, the author decided to take a road trip around his adopted country. This popular book is a humorous and interesting observation of life and culture in Great Britain. Bryson also writes about his personal experiences of the places he visits. A glossary of commonly used words in Britain is included. Of interest, check out Bryson's companion book The Road to Little Dribbling published in 2015.

Lonely Planet: Great Britain by Neil Wilson
Whether you're going to Great Britain for the first time or a return visit, this updated, 11th edition travel guide can help with your planning. The book provides travel tips, notable places to visit, itinerary suggestions, and more for England, Scotland, and Wales.  Full color illustrations and photographs are included.  Additional regional and country travel guides are available.