Thames: Book summary and reviews of Thames by Peter Ackroyd

Thames

The Biography

By Peter Ackroyd

Thames

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Book Summary

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 the VIII, and offers memorable portraits of the ordinary men and women who depend upon the river for their livelihoods. He visits all the towns and villages along the river from Oxfordshire to London and describes the magnificent royal residences, as well as the bridges and docks, locks and weirs, found along its 215-mile run. 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. Elegant and erudite, Ackroyd's gathering of rich treats does the famed tributary proud." - Publishers Weekly.

"Starred Review. Riverine structure, lovely and liquid language." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Because he has 30 books and numerous awards under his belt, it's difficult to imagine Ackroyd writing a truly bad book, but this one comes perilously close." - Library Journal.

"Peter Acrkoyd’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.

"Thames smells authentically of the water…. It is not just the subject that sets this book apart but also the compelling new perspectives that [Ackroyd] brings." - The Times.

"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.

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Author Information

Peter Ackroyd Author Biography

Photo © Charles Hopkinson

Novelist, biographer, and poet Peter Ackroyd was born in London on October 5, 1949.

He graduated from Clare College, Cambridge, and studied at Yale University as a Mellon Fellow, where he completed Notes for a New Culture: An Essay on Modernism, published in 1976. On his return from Yale, he worked for The Spectator magazine in London as literary editor (1973-7), then as joint managing editor (1978-82) and film critic. He is chief book reviewer for The Times newspaper and a regular broadcaster on radio. He has been a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature since 1984.

Equally acclaimed for both his inventive biographies and his formally diverse fiction, Ackroyd blends past and present, fact and fiction in his writing.

He also displays a genius for literary impersonation, both in his ...

... Full Biography
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