Tales from the Towers, the new book telling the unique story behind Alton Towers, is now available and has received its first detailed review.
The book, written by Theme Park Tourist editor Nick Sim, covers the full history of the park - from its origins as a seat of the Earls of Shrewsbury right through to the modern day. It includes a variety of never-before-published information, such as plans for the theme park that Tussauds hoped to open at Woburn Abbey before buying the Towers and details of rides that were planned for Alton Towers but never built. Full details of the book can be found here, and it's available now from Amazon.co.uk (priced at £13.99 £11.99) and the Kindle store (priced at £6.99).
The first review of Tales from the Towers was recently published by Adam Perry, an expert on Alton Towers' history and and owner of AltonTowersMemories.net. Perry said: "This is a book that anyone interested in Alton Towers should get their hands on."
You can read the full review below:
It was in the early months of 2013 that I had learned of the intentions of the author of this book, Nick Sim, to produce an original book that would chart the history of the development of Alton Towers as an early pleasure ground and then go on to discuss the circumstances that led to its current state as a fully fledged modern theme park. Given the fact that the time frame for essential research and the actual writing of the publication was quite limited (due to personal reasons - which are revealed within the book), I was dubious to some extent, and doubted that anyone would be able to produce a competent piece of work on this subject in a relatively short time.
I needn't have worried about the ability of the author and his content. 326 pages later it has become clear that the research and referencing within the book is excellent, with the use of newspaper archives being particularly impressive. The book will appeal to any readers who have an interest in any particular period of the history of Alton Towers as the author has taken care to make sure that many years of development have been covered very well from c1800 (and earlier - briefly) to the present day. Each period in the development of Alton Towers has been pieced together with excellence by Sim. This is a book written with a very high level of competence.
The author has evidently taken time to consult many different primary and secondary sources when discussing the early years of Alton Towers during the 19th Century and also when moving on to the developments of the 20th century and beyond. Sim provides an excellent description of the pre theme-park years and therefore the reader is in a position to understand and enjoy the subsequent developments adequately.
Interestingly, when discussing certain rides at Alton Towers during the present and the past, the author takes care to compare them with similar attractions at other theme parks throughout the world, and how they compared with each other during the same period. In other words - How innovative were Alton Towers being with some of their flagship rides? This book provides the narrative and evidence around the introduction of all of the new rides over many years.
As the reviewer, I will admit that I had not been overly aware of the career of John Broome before or after his involvement at Alton Towers. This book has given me a much greater understanding of his involvement at the Towers as well as his earlier and later career exploits (which were particularly interesting). It was also very interesting to come across the occasional 'Hidden Secret' which had been placed throughout the book. There were many of these, which did surprise me (I would not want to spoil them for the future reader).
As the author moved on to the theme park years in the 1980s and beyond it was very interesting to learn about the potential new competitors that threatened the dominance of Alton. There were several of these and it was interesting to learn of how these threats came and ultimately went away.
Also discussed was the issue of objections to the noise and traffic congestion caused by the Theme Park. This includes arguments from both sides of the argument and the complainants are not only the now notorious Ropers. There is also a section in the book about the park mascots which I found particularly entertaining.
In conclusion, I believe that this book needed to be written. This is a book that anyone interested in Alton Towers should get their hands on. Michael Fisher wrote a brilliant book about how the house and gardens came to fruition since c1800, and I doubt it could ever be bettered. However, the need was there for a book to explain how the leisure side of the park had developed since that period which would explain to people how we have arrived in the situation that we find ourselves in, with several world renowned Roller-coasters and other well renowned attractions. There is so much more that I could say about this book using certain superlatives, but to put it simply, Nick Sim has pulled it off.