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Wat Tyler





‘This invaluable book is the history of London we have been waiting for …London has a strong radical tradition and this is its story, told with elegance and precision.’ – Ken Loach


A forgotten history ofLondon: world capital of revolution

A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF LONDON takes us into an unofficial, half-hidden and often undocumented world, a city rarely glimpsed: of pamphleteers, agitators, exiles, demonstrations and riots; the city of Wat Tyler, Marx and Engels, Garibaldi and Gandhi; and the countless pubs, theatres, coffee-houses and meeting-places in which radical ideas have been nurtured and revolutions planned.

Hub of empire, world port and seat of government: the things that makeLondona centre of wealth and power have also made it a centre of dissent and radicalism. As the home of national government, London is the focal point for protest and its political history is entwined with the lives of its people, a multitude often dismissed throughout the centuries as a ‘mob’.

As the government clamps down on protest ahead of the Diamond Jubilee and the Olympics, A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF LONDON reconnects Londoners to a vibrant and tumultuous political heritage: from the twelfth century rebellion of William Longbeard and the Peasants’ Revolt, to modern fights against fascism and racism in Cable Street and Notting Hill, the Brixton Riots, all the way to the smashed windows of Millbank and the protest camp at Occupy LSX.

Published to coincide with the mayoral elections, this counter-history reveals howLondon’s poor and its immigrant population have shaped the city’s history and identity over the ages – and why this is unlikely to change. Politicians and journalists rushed to blame the 2011 riots that began in Tottenham and spread across the country on ‘sheer criminality’. Lindsey German and John Rees show how the same cry from the defenders of the status quo has echoed down the centuries after every riot in London.

A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF LONDON tells the story ofLondonas a theatre of political activism, with a focus on the lives, actions and words of the actors themselves. Asking why London has such a history of radicalism, German and Rees trace the source to many of the same elements which contribute to the alienation of so many from the city – staggering inequality and the size and impersonality of the fast- paced metropolis – and look at how the Olympic city of the twenty-first century is reproducing the conditions that gave rise to radical and socialist ideas in the past.


JOHN REES is a writer, broadcaster and activist. His books include THE ALGEBRA OF REVOLUTION and IMPERIALISM AND RESISTANCE and he is co-founder of the Stop the War Coalition.

LINDSEY GERMAN is a socialist writer and activist who has lived inLondon all her life. She is convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, stood as candidate for Mayor of London and has written books on women’s liberation, class, and war.


 ISBN: 978 1 84467 855 6 / $19.95/£12.99 Paperback / 320 pages


 For more information about A PEOPLE’S HISTORY OF LONDON, or to buy the book visit:



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