These personal snippets have charm, and A Short History of London is attractively packaged. The front endpapers reproduce a bird’s-eye view of the city from around 1550, and there’s a generous selection of plates. Yet the lack of endnotes is frustrating.... Mistakes such as these perhaps do no more than nibble at the authority of Jenkins’s account, which is always lucid. Yet he has a tendency to cramp vividness with didacticism — to sound less like a historian, gleaning evidence from primary sources, than a political columnist hooked on epigram.