The history of revolt and rebellion in Britain is a long and colourful one, but (inevitably) it is the nation's capital that has seen the greatest concentration of such dissent over the centuries. Clive Bloom's Violent London
(subtitled 2,000 Years of Riots, Rebels and Revolts
) is a remarkable document, unquestionably the last word on the subject (if such a thing is possible, given that -- as Bloom demonstrates -- the time-honoured tradition of dissent is alive and well in the capital). The book is an updating of an earlier edition which had such writers as the late JG Ballard enthusiastically extolling its virtues -- and it's not hard to see why. Bloom's reach is immensely ambitious, stretching from Boudicca (who actually set fire to the city in her struggle against Roman occupation) through such significant rebels as Wat Tyler, taking in virtually every important anti-establishment stance adopted throughout the ages with London as the fulcrum. Recent sections (including a perceptive analysis of the anti-globalisation protests) are quite as balanced and well-informed as those set in the ancient past.
Clive Bloom himself is something of a polymath, with books on popular culture rubbing shoulders with ambitious volumes such as Violent London, and like the very best writers on historical subjects, his principal agenda is to communicate both the excitement of the subject and the hardcore information that is de rigueur in such books as this. Whether or not you consider yourself a student of history and political dissent, this is a book which has much to say about the society we live in -- essential reading in an age of protest. --Barry Forshaw
--This text refers to an alternate
An exhilarating rush through countless riots, insurrections and full-blown street wars... Written in a racy and accessible style... -- JG Ballard in Saturday Telegraph, May 2003
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.