The late poet laureate, Sir John Betjeman, said that Edinburgh was the most beautiful city in Europe. Like some other great cities it is set on seven hills. But only one of these, Rome, rivals Edinburgh in matching the beauty of its setting with the stateliness of its buildings. Edinbrugh, too, provides the backdrop to much of the dark drama of the Scottish past, from Mary Queen of Scots to Bonnie Prince Charlie and beyond. Michael Fry, who has lived and worked there for nearly forty years, provides a compellingly readable account of this great city, from the earliest times to the present, balancing Edinburgh's cultural, political and social history, and painting a vivid portrait of a city - that like Stevenson's Dr Jekyll - is both dark and light, both dark and light, both 'Auld Reekie' and 'Athens of the North'. Impressive in the style of Peter Ackroyds history of London Magnus Linklator, Spectator 'No one interested in the history of Edinburgh, and indeed Scotland, should be without it Allan Massie, Scotsman

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