Thursday, April 9, 2020

Ten top books about Londoners

Panikos Panayi was born in London to Greek Cypriot immigrants and grew up in the multicultural city developing during the 1960s and 1970s. A leading authority on the history of migration, he is Professor of European History at De Montfort University.

Panayi's new book is Migrant City: A New History of London.

At the Guardian, Panayi tagged ten books about "the modern history of London, providing an insight into its ethnic and social diversity." One novel on the list:
Small Island by Andrea Levy (2004)

One of the best fictional accounts of the realities of life in wartime and early postwar London for West Indian migrants to the heart of empire, tracing racism, which trumped social status with regard to the way in which the white British reacted to the new arrivals, despite the relatively positive reception for West Indian servicemen during the second world war. The novel also offers an insight into the social and economic realities of London life in the 1940s and 1950s for all ethnic groups.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Small Island is among J.R. Ramakrishnan's seven novels that celebrate the 40% of Londoners who aren't white, Virginia Nicholson's ten top books about women in the 1950s, Martin Fletcher's five best books on nations and lives in transition, and Gillian Cross's top ten books that throw everything you think you know upside down.

--Marshal Zeringue