Beyond the Tower, By John Marriott

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Before the shindig at Stratford began, east Londoners endured three centuries of efforts to improve, reform, rehouse and upgrade them.

Yet the outlandish territory beyond the Tower tends to move with tides of history – migration, empire, boom-and-bust – too vast for planners to direct.

Erudite but readable, this history of East London in its mutinous variety traces the flow of change in glorious detail.

As for the Olympics, "it will be another few years before we know whether they have been a success"