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A unique evocation of Britain at the height of Margaret Thatcher's rule, A Journey Through Ruins views the transformation of the country through the unexpected prism of every day life in East London. Written at a time when the looming but still unfinished tower of Canary Wharf was still wrapped in protective blue plastic, its cast of characters includes council tenants trapped in disintegrating tower blocks, depressed gentrifiers worrying about negative equity, metal detectorists, sharp-eyed estate agents and management consultants, and even Prince Charles. Written half a century after the blitz, the book reviews the rise and fall of the London of the post-war settlement. It remains one of the very best accounts of what it was like to live through the Thatcher years. This reissue includes a new introduction revisiting the book's East End starting point in Dalston Lane, four additional chapters, and an insert of photographs taken in and around Dalston in the year of the book's first appearance.
Patrick Wright is a writer and broadcaster with an interest in the cultural dimensions of modern life. He is the author of a number of highly acclaimed best-selling history books, including The Village that Died for England, Tank (described by Simon Schama as 'a tour de force'), and Iron Curtain, which John le Carre described as 'a work of wit, style and waggish erudition.'
He has written for many magazines and newspapers, including the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Washington Post, the Independent, and the Observer, and has made numerous documentaries on cultural themes for both BBC Radio 3 and 4. His television work includes The River, a four-part BBC2 series on the Thames.
He is also a Professor at the Institute for Cultural Analysis at Nottingham Trent University, and a fellow of the London Consortium.
Table of Contents
Going Back to Dalston
Preface to the Oxford Edition
The Undemolished World of Dalston Lane
Around the World in Three Hundred Yards
All Cats are Grey by Night
Down in the Dirt
Dalston Lane Becomes a Downland Track
Brideshead and the Tower Blocks
An Unexpected Reprieve
Scenes from the Privatized City
The London Bus Queue Falls Apart
The Vandalized Telephone Box
The Man with a Metal Detector
Drinking Water in a Toxic State
Tales of Conversion
The Park that Lost its Name
Remembering London's War
The Bow Quarter: Six Hundred and Seventy Luxury Flats in an Old Victorian Hell-House
Visions of the New Dawn
Excellence: From Fifth Avenue to Hackney Town Hall
Refounding the City with Prince Charles Afterwards...
Down Among the Gentrifiers
A Night to Remember
Don Giovanni (and Business Planning) Come to the Hackney Empire
Siraj Izhar's public lavatory
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.