If you're interested in London history but are intimidated by Peter Ackroyd's London and can't get your head round Iain Sinclair's psychogeographic rambles then this beautiful beast of a coffee table history book may well be the thing for you.
Written by eminent Birkbeck historian, Jerry White, the chapters take you on a whistlestop ride through the development of our modern city from various perspectives. The geography, politics, people, economy and culture of London are traced through cherry picked cornerstones of history and spectacularly illustrated with images from the Museum of London's incomparable collection.
In a move reminiscent of the London Dossier, the second half of the book examines food, music, children, sport and the underworld, linking past and present. This is particularly effective looking at the Olympics over time, with a full colour double spread of the cupcake stadium building site hinting at the excitement to come.
Those of you who used to get overexcited at pop-up books will be gleeful when you discover the gatefold pages containing reproductions of historical documents, courtesy of the Museum of London. Pore over an early Coutts cheque, a Festival of Britain programme, a tram map and plague year Bill of Mortality. And if all that excitement leaves you snoozy, the hardback cover is luxuriantly padded so rest your head onit for some shut eye and vibrant Londony dreams.
London: The Story of a Great City by Jerry White is £30