England's great river through the ages.
The author of the acclaimed London 1900 as well as earlier works on significant figures in British labor history, Schneer has written a compelling history of the river Thames, which meanders through southern Britain. The river has had huge impact on the lives of royalty and lesser folk living on its banks. To the east, the ebb tides determined the fates of many famous Britons (among them Sir Walter Raleigh and Annabella Stuart), while "The other river, the sweet Thames, running softly to the west" has tugged on the imagination of numerous literary figures, including William Morris. The famed Henley Regattas were played out on the river, and dock workers thrived on its banks in the 19th century. Yet as Schneer reminds us, numerous members of the middle class died in ferry sinkings, partly because of the pestilence of the river itself (it was cleaned up in the 20th century). During World War II, the Germans relied on the river to identify and bomb London, but it also bore the flotilla that carried Churchill to his rest-an event that ends this entertaining book. Readers should be stirred by these last chapters. Recommended for all libraries.-Gail Benjafield, St, Catharines P.L., Ont. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.