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The Fields Beneath (2015)

The Fields Beneath (2015)
3.94 of 5 Votes: 4
0753818671 (ISBN13: 9780753818671)
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The Fields Beneath (2015)
The Fields Beneath (2015)

About book: A history of Kentish Town, a district whose ship has never quite come in, but which turns out to have done quite well simply by surviving - a 1944 planning document labelled it "an area in need of removal". This is a good book throughout, but possibly at its finest in the last chapter, when it enters the author's own lifespan and runs through to the date of first publication, 1977. She says her last chaper is less local history than material for local historians of the future - but her dry, controlled rage at the 'Brave New Worlders' and their "belief that the ideal human habitat is Welwyn Garden City and that urban habitats of a totally different order should be altered to conform as far as possible to this ideal". The story of how this tide was fought back, and London's unloved suburbs began to rise again, is a fascinating snapshot of a moment in a trend without which my current life, and the lives of most of my friends, would look very different. There is, of course, also a cost to being from 1977; whenever Tindall says what is 'now' where some historical feature stood before, that present has itself passed into history. A 2011 postscript, oddly situated before the text, provides some updates, but still necessitates a degree of flicking back and forth. Still, this is no fault of book or author, but an inevitable side effect of the very process of constant change which serves as her main theme. And at times, when writing about the survivals of old patterns and legends in the streets of a disregarded London district, there are passages which remind me distinctly of Arthur Machen; I can offer few compliments higher than that.
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