In this perfect companion to London: The Biography, Peter Ackroyd once again delves into the hidden byways of history, describing the river's endless allure in a journey overflowing with characters, incidents, and wry observations. Thames: The Biography meanders gloriously, rather like the river itself. In short, lively chapters Ackroyd writes about connections between the Thames and such historical figures as Julius Caesar and Henry VIII, and offers memorable portraits of the ordinary men and women who depend upon the river for their livelihoods. The Thames as a source of artistic inspiration comes brilliantly to life as Ackroyd invokes Chaucer, Shakespeare, Turner, Shelley, and other writers, poets, and painters who have been enchanted by its many moods and colors.
About the Author
PETER ACKROYD is the author of London: The Biography, Albion: The Origins of the English Imagination, and Shakespeare: The Biography; acclaimed biographies of T.S. Eliot, Dickens, Blake, and Sir Thomas More; thirteen novels; and the series Ackroyd’s Brief Lives. He has won the Whitbread Book Award for Biography, the Royal Society of Literature’s William Heinemann Award, the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, the Guardian Fiction Prize, the Somerset Maugham Award, and the South Bank Award for Literature. He lives in London.
Praise for Thames: The Biography…
"Thames smells authentically of the water, of an author who has walked the towpath and knows not only the impressive statistics…but also the Turner water-colours of the Thames itself…. It is not just the subject that sets this book apart but also the compelling new perspectives that [Ackroyd] brings." —The Times
“The pages glint with scintillating nuggets recovered from the river…. You might well think that the garlanded biographer of Dickens and Turner was born to write this extraordinary book.” —The Observer
“Mesmerising. . . As soon as you open this account of the Thames, you will want to immerse yourself in it. . . . No one is better than Ackroyd at evoking the texture and atmosphere of the distant past.” —Daily Telegraph
“An unmissable performance.” —The Guardian
"[A book of] substance and unflaggingly interesting detail. . . a very enjoyable and highly idiosyncratic account of the subject." —The Spectator
“Wonderful…. Peter Ackroyd’s writing is such a pleasure that Thames can be read all at once, with increasing delight, and afterwards dipped into, like stretches of the great waterway it charts and celebrates.” —Financial Times Magazine
“[Ackroyd’s] exhaustive reclaiming of the Thames inks in colourful new detail. —TIME
“a rich offering by a masterly writer…” —Times Literary Supplement
“[Ackroyd] presents his material as a cornucopia of treats and insights delivered from all directions.” —The Independent