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Ackroyd portrays London from the time of the druids to the beginning of the twenty-first century, noting magnificence in both epochs, but this is not a simple chronological record. It is a comprehensive account, animated by Ackroyd's concern for the close relationship between the present and the past as well as by what he describes as the peculiar "echoic" quality of London whereby its texture and history actively affect the lives and personalities of its citizens.
London is perhaps the most important study of the city ever written, and confirms Ackroyd's status as what one critic has called "our age's greatest London imagination".
Trade and Enterprise explores London as a center for international trade, finance, and culture. Integral topics covered include the river, banking, science, and architecture.