'A vivid celebration of the city, but also an elegy for its decline, bubbling with statistics and anecdotes, from Boadicea to Betjeman' Richard Holmes, Daily Telegraph, Books of the Year 'Roy Porter, a historian of formidable range, turns to urban history in this marvellously lucid, informative and passionate book . . . Porter's facts are always at the service of his narrative, which has a finely maintained momentum, balancing statistics with the words of historians, diarists and novelists, poets and churchmen; Pepys, Boswell, Fielding, Walpole, Blake, Mayhew, Wells, Woolf, Spark, Archibishop Runcie . . . a timely and brilliant book' Claire Tomalin, Evening Standard