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"A theatre of political activism": A People's History of London reviewed

Huw Lemmey28 June 2012

A People's History of London, Lindsey German and John Rees' chronicle of the city told through its rebellions and revolts, continues to draw strong reviews. Writing for the Camden New Journal, Dan Carrier interviewed the authors:
"There is barely a street in inner London that cannot tell a tale," says John. "This is not just a social history but is the story of a theatre of political activism". They draw on reasons for London's radicalism, and say the book is timely. "The Olympics and the Jubilee mean there is a big focus on London,' says Lindsey. "London books tell the history of the rich and powerful. We wanted to show there was a different tradition."
Carrier's follows London's story from its sacking by Boudicca's hordes to the riots of August 2011, by way of strikes, revolts and the London mob, claiming "It is an inspiring history of radical activism, and this chronicle of these heroes who stood shoulder to shoulder is a timely reminder."

Writing in the Guardian Jerry White finds the historical narrative rich and convincing, saying the book "acquits itself admirably":
These are all episodes teeming with action and drama that are difficult to summarise in a coherent way, but the authors do the job with verve, while still finding space for insightful analysis...All these events and many more are energetically marshalled here as models of encouragement or caution. And those who continue to uphold Lon- don's living traditions of protest will be able to take heart from this fresh and welcome look at the city's history.
Michael Kerrigan gives the book four stars in the Scotsman, saying "This book is a timely reminder that there is a very different side to London, every bit as energetic and exciting in its way."

The Londonist featured Lindsey German and John Rees in their weekly podcast, talking about their book and London's radical past. You can listen to the show here.

Visit The Scotsman to read their review in full.
Visit The Guardian to read their review in full.
Visit The Camden New Journal to read Dan Carrier's review in full.

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