By Permission of Heaven
The Story of the Great Fire of London
Pimlico (2004), 425pp.
Adrian Tinniswood’s magnificent new account of the Great Fire of London, explores the history of a cataclysm and its consiquences, from the first small blaze to the rebirth of the city. The statistics of the disaster are terrible: 436 acres of closely packed streets burned; 13,200 houses destroyed; millions of pounds lost. But the Great Fire wasn’t simply a tragedy of economics or architecture. It killed and maimed, and it drove Londoners mad in their quest for vengence.
By Permission of Heaven pieces together the untold human story of the Fire and its aftermath, providing an unsurpassable reconstruction of what happened to schoolchildren and servants, courtiers and clergymen when the streets of London ran with fire and ‘by ye Permission of Heaven, Hell broke loose upon this Protestant City’.