There are already a good number of books about Harpenden, including booklets produced by the Harpenden & District Local History Society. The recently published booklet by Jean Gardner is an ideal introduction to the history of the town.
It typically covers the main areas of interest with about a page of text and a small illustration, and there are two good maps. Topics covered include the coming of the railways, early schooling, John Bennet Lawes and Rothamsted, the growth of the town, the churches, the world wars, and entertainment. It ends with a very useful bibliography.
If you are just visiting the town, or have just discovered your ancestor came from Harpenden, this booklet will be a good place to start looking into the town's history.
Available from the Society
More about Harpenden
This is one of my Hertfordshire History Books for Christmas