Fields Beneath

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London, that city of villages, has never been so vividly recounted as in this particular study of Kentish Town. Gillian Tindall takes us along the banks of London's long-buried Fleet River, past wells and into public houses to reveal the real but fascinating history of its tenants, traders, freeholders and landlords. We watch as this village is absorbed by the metropolis and observe its desperate struggle to keep an identity, despite being fragmented by railways, bombed and developed. The Fields Beneath is one of a precious handful of books (like Montaillou and Akenfield) that in their precise examination of a particular locality open our understanding of universal themes, as if the microscopic examination of one place holds the key to a better understanding of the nature of community, and the role of the individual within it.

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