Ackroyd, Peter "Thames. Sacred River" - 2007
I love history and I love England. So, what's better than reading a book about a part of my favourite country that is so important to its history, geography, really anything that defines this wonderful country. It's amazing how much you can write about "a bit of water". This book is about the story of the great river, from its source to the sea, from its early beginnings and the first settlements until the importance it still has today for the United Kingdom. How it shaped not just the landscape but also the people. How people used it but also worshipped it.
A very interesting account of how history develops, how states are founded, how much a river contributes to the art of a country, to its politics, its success. Great writing, great book.
From the back cover:
"Just as Peter Ackroyd's bestselling London is the biography of the city, Thames: Sacred River is the biography of the river, from sea to source. Exploring its history from prehistoric times to the present day, the reader is drawn into an extraordinary world, learning about the fishes that swim in the river and the boats that ply its surface; about floods and tides; hauntings and suicides; miasmas and malaria; locks, weirs and embankments; bridges, docks and palaces.
Peter Ackroyd has a genius for digging out the most surprising and entertaining details, and for writing about them in the most magisterial prose; the result is a wonderfully readable and captivating guide to this extraordinary river and the towns and villages which line it."