Liverpool's designation as European Capital of Culture for 2008, together with the 800th anniversary of the founding of the borough in 2007, has (unsurprisingly) generated a number of books dealing with different aspects of the city's history. The five volumes reviewed here represent just a small selection of those available, ranging from the deliberately academic to much more popular publications. Together they provide much of interest for urban historians. If these books have a common theme it is the argument (or assumption) that for much of its history, and in many different respects, Liverpool was (and remains) in various ways different from other British cities. The celebration of difference lies very much at the heart of Liverpool's Capital of Culture activities, and these books provide additional perspectives on Liverpool's demographic, social, cultural, sporting and architectural distinctiveness.
Review essay The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, Urban History, 35 (3), pp 497-501 2008, © 2008 Cambridge University Press.