Donald Sassoon

Tales of the City

Streetlife: The Untold History of Europe’s Twentieth Century


Oxford University Press 477pp £18.99 order from our bookshop

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a young academic in possession of a PhD must be in want of a journal where at least a chapter might be published. But the object investigated is usually so obscure that a bit of sexing up is perfectly understandable. Hence opening lines such as: ‘Curiously enough no one has so far examined the role played by the partially disabled Mr L John Silver in the bureaucratic reorganisation of the Royal Navy in the first half of the eighteenth century – a role which was of some significance to both treasure seekers and rum distillers.’ And it just so happens that a cache of Mr Silver’s letters, previously overlooked by historians, has been recently found in the archives. The rest, literally, is history. 

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • Why did the 'bold and determined' Empress Matilda never manage to become Queen regnant? Peter Marshall reviews a n… ,
    • From the Archive: Martyn Bedford on Ian McEwan's 'Atonement' ,
    • In 'Silenced Voices' reports the ongoing story of the human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been… ,
    • The mystery of Jack the Ripper's identity has long been agonised over. But what do we know about his victims?… ,
    • A piece of Literary Review history from way back in 1983: John Haffenden talks to the great Iris Murdoch. ,
    • Britain’s only travelling lit fest, the Garden Museum Literary Festival is heading to Houghton Hall, Norfolk, for a… ,
    • 'The 19th-century German sage is not my idea of a pleasant travel companion' goes hiking with Friedr… ,