Almost as soon as it was built, London suffered the first of many acts of violent protest, when Boudica and her followers set fire to the city in AD 60. Ever since, the capital’s streets have been a forum for popular insurrection. Yet this is the first time that London’s ‘secret’ history has been fully explored - the underground world of radicals and subversives from Wat Tyler to the Anti-Globalization Movement via the Gordon Riots, the Cato Street Conspirators, the Suffragettes, Mosleyites and the IRA.
This is the story of an alternative London, as well as an alternative political history of the British Isles, outside parliamentary processes, sometimes popular, sometimes conspiratorial, in direct confrontation with the forces of the state, its police, military and secret service. It’s a story of political activism expressed in street fighting and slum warfare, in assassination and bombing, peopled by a fascinating array of demagogues and democrats, lunatics and libertarians, bigots and social revolutionaries. It is also the story of the growth of London as a capital and as a major city.
Covering nearly 2000 years of political protest, with strong characters and a dramatic narrative, Violent London is a riveting account of the past and present conflict, revealing a hidden thread in our living history.
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‘An exhilarating rush through countless riots, insurrections and full-blown street wars…written in a racy and accessible style…As I read this superb history, I looked at my quiet suburban garden, disappointed not to hear the sound of trumpets’
- J.G. Ballard, Daily Telegraph