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Description

WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

What's new?

What's new?
Next beer book - now called 'Miracle Brew' - is finished! You can still subscribe to it here.
You can still listen to The Apple Orchard on BBC iPlayer radio
I'm taking the pub on tour - four dates between now and Christmas.
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Shakespeare's Local

UK edition
US edition

Shakespeare's Local:
Six Centuries of History Seen Through One Extraordinary Pub

('Shakespeare's Pub' in the US)

The Blurb

A history of Britain told through the story of one very special public house
Welcome to the George Inn near London Bridge; a cosy, wood-pannelled, galleried coaching house a few minutes' walk from the Thames. Grab yourself a pint, listen to the chatter of the locals and lean back, resting your head against the wall. And then consider this: who else has rested their head against that wall, over the last 600 years?
Chaucer and his fellow pilgrims almost certainly drank in the George on their way out of London to Canterbury. It's fair to say that Shakespeare will have popped in from the nearby Globe for a pint, and we know that Dickens certainly did. Mail carriers changed their horses here, before heading to all four corners of Britain -- while sailors drank here before visiting all four corners of the world...
The pub, as Pete Brown points out, is the 'primordial cell of British life' and in the George he has found the perfect case study. All life is here, from murderers, highwaymen and ladies of the night to gossiping pedlars and hard-working clerks. So sit back and watch as buildings rise and fall over the centuries, and 'the beer drinker's Bill Bryson' (TLS) takes us on an entertaining tour through six centuries of history, through the stories of everyone that ever drank in one pub.

Behind the Blurb

My fourth book with Macmillan, and a step to try to take my writing from beer to focus on the role of the pub more widely in social history. The George is an amazing place, and it's so gratifying that I get so many tweets and messages from people saying they are reading the book in the pub.

The biggest negative I've had about this book is that there is no evidence Shakespeare actually drank there. There are two things I'd say about this. 

Firstly, that's because there's very little evidence of Shakespeare having gone anywhere. There are no records of him ever having visited any specific pub. But we know he did. And we know he lived just around the corner form this one for ten years, at a time when it was one of the most famous pubs in London. We have to use deduction, and the circumstantial case that he drank there is far, far stronger than any attempt to prove that he did not.

Secondly, it's quite clear form the subtitle that this book spans six fascinating centuries of London history. Even if we had documentary proof of Shakespeare having gone there, it would only be one page in the book. There's so much more than that to the history of the place.

Shakespeare's Local was BBC Radio 4's Book of the Week in December 2012.

Book a group Shakespeare's Local Southwark Walk here.

Reviews

"A literary version of a cracking pub crawl."
Daily Telegraph (full review here)

"For all the facts and anecdotes, it;s the author's voice that really makes Shakespeare's Local  fun to read... [like] it's all being told to you over a cosy pint."
Londonist (full review here)

"Brimming with fascinating stories and forgotten characters."
The Guardian (full review here)

Where can I buy this book?

Amazon UK
Amazon US
Macmillan

1 comment:

Ruppert2p said...

Dear Peter, I have enjoyed reading all your books and Shakespeare's Pub is no exception. My only complaint (and you know that that had to be coming after the kindly introductory sentence) is that, due to the size of the book, many of the maps and diagrams are difficult to read. I even had a hard time finding the skeletal cat in the Hogarth engraving. This is particularly the case of the three floor plan diagrams of the George. Would it be possible to post larger versions of the three floor plans (1849, 1879, 2009) on your blog or include links to where they may be found on the web. Doing so would help some of us with failing vision. It would be wonderful if some architect or graphic artist with nothing to do would make all three plans to the same scale so one could be overlaid on the next and we could see the changes in the George over time. All the best in your future projects and have a pint on me.