From Jewish clothing merchants to Bangladeshi curry houses, ancient docks to the 2012 Olympics, the area east of the City has always played a crucial role in London's history. The East End, as it has been known, was the home to Shakespeare's first theatre and to the early stirrings of a mass labour movement; it has also traditionally been seen as a place of darkness and despair, where Jack the Ripper committed his gruesome murders, and cholera and poverty stalked the Victorian streets. In this beautifully illustrated history of this iconic district, John Marriott draws on 25 years of research into the subject to present an authoritative and endlessly fascinating account. With the aid of copious maps, archive prints and photographs, and the words of East Londoners from 17th-century silk-weavers to Cockneys during the Blitz, he explores the relationship between the East End and the rest of London, and challenges many of the myths which surround the area. "A major achievement." (Euan Ferguson, "Time Out"). "Superb". (Stephen Howe, "The Independent"). "Perhaps the International Olympic Committee officials should read this terrific book as their chauffeured cars purr up and down the commandeered streets of Whitechapel next year." (Sinclair Mckay, "The Daily Telegraph"). "Marriott is at his most perceptive and sympathetic in his accounts of the struggles of the working people in the East End and its age-old role as the nursery of the waves of immigrants who have enriched British society." (Tim Knox, "Country Life"). "East London's turbulent story as an area always culturally and economically on the fringe (and for centuries beyond legislative reach thanks to the city wall) is mapped out in frequently fascinating detail in this rather good history." (Claire Allfree, "Metro" (London)).