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This is London: Life and Death in the World City Hardcover – 28 Jan 2016
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It is hard to overstate the value of what Judah has done . . . This is London is an important and impressive book (Sunday Telegraph)
An eye-opening investigation into the hidden immigrant life of the city . . . You won't read a more succinct analysis (Sunday Times)
A revelatory work, full of nuggets of unexpected information about the lives of others . . . [Judah] is a fine, intrepid reporter (Financial Times)
Work of this sort really is necessary; this is the stuff we must think about it we are ever to get to grips (assuming it's not too late already) with what lies ahead for our cities. Every MP should be given a copy immediately. On every page lies and uncomfortable truth, in every paragraph sheer horror. It is a book that demonstrably improves the eyesight. Read it, and the streets will look different: I guarantee it. Above all, more than I can possibly say, I admired its author's pluck, determination, compassion and refusal to judge - and I'd like him to know that some of the stories he told will haunt me for a long time to come (Rachel Cooke New Statesman)
Judah has succeeded in opening reader's eyes to the hardships experienced by many and ignored by most (Independent)
This truly extraordinary book is as raw, powerful, unflinching, witty, engaging, shocking, in-your-face and occasionally both heartwarming and heartbreaking as the great but complex and flawed city it chronicles. I've lived in London for three decades yet found something I didn't know about it on virtually every page (Andrew Roberts, author of Napoleon the Great)
Having spent the last year meeting people along several of the world's busiest migration trails, it is fascinating to read Ben Judah's powerful account of where some of them end up. Judah has created an alternative and essential guide to London, and Londoners, in 2015.' (Patrick Kingsley Guardian)
Mesmerising, trenchant and deeply compassionate (Book of the Month Bookseller)
A vital, almost overwhelming panorama of brutality and injustice (Metro)
Ben Judah offers no answers; but bears witness. He reports the stories of London's immigrants with a smart mind, a light touch and a brave and compassionate heart. These statements deserve to be heard. This is London is an important, state of the nation, eye-opening report from our increasingly ghettoized capital city (Dan Boothby, author of Island of Dreams)
A major work of narrative non-fiction from a fresh new voice.See all Product description
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Each chapter of the book gives a sketch of how these new Londoners are surviving, if not exactly thriving. They are hanging on, just struggling to see a future. Even the affluent and super-rich in Mayfair, Kensington and Knightsbridge are trapped in aimless drug and alcohol fuelled existences. Judah paints a picture of groups caught in isolated desperate lives. As one of the girls he meets on the "Beckton Alps" says:
'You know, there are no young British people round here . . . It’s like this: Russian and Ukrainian people hate Polish and Lithuanian people. Eastern Europe peoples hate Indian people. Everybody hates the black people. Whites hate everyone . . . That’s just the way it is.’
The British have moved out and moved on from this London. They only have contact with these new Londoners as beggars, as cleaners or as carers for them in their final demented years.
For the most part Judah tells us stories of loss and disappointment; the people he meets have had to learn for themselves that London's streets aren't paved with gold.
The book might perhaps have benefited from some commentary to attempt to put some context around these bleak personal narratives. Judah, though, simply allows his readers to reach their own conclusions. Ultimately this is a worthwhile, raw, thought provoking, read.
London of poverty, immigrants, homeless, hopeless.
The author made a true reportage here, sleeping with damps under bridges, being part of their teams in order to understand them better.
He doesn't express his opinion. Only facts.
The changes in London are vast during the last decades and you will be shocked!
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I struggled with the ‘characterisation’ of the speakers, however - Judah does not (for me) manage to...Read more