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Richard Mabey, one of Britain's leading nature writers, looks in A Good Parcel of English Soil at the relationship between city and country, and how this brings out the power of nature – part of a series of twelve books tied to the twelve lines of the London Underground, as Tfl celebrates 150 years of the Tube with Penguin. Exploring the creation of "Metro-land" as a powerful symbol of the English ruralist myth, A Good Parcel of English Soil looks at how individuals become sensitized to nature in the hybrid environment of the suburbs. Richard Mabey grew up on the Metropolitan line, without the development of which – and its precursor, the Metropolitan Railway – in the early 20th Century, Metro-land could not have come into existence in the way we know it now, and here, through his own family's history, he explores the power of nature as it occurs even on the fringes of our cities. The city is filled with stories.
In twelve books, twelve writers tell their tales of London life, each inspired by a different Underground line. Some are personal, some are polemical; every one is unique.