‘One of the best books on the many diverse migrations to London . . . revealing the extent to which the diversity of immigrant origins has had transformative effects – through food, music, diverse types of knowledge and so much more. The book is difficult to put it down’
Saskia Sassen, The Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, New York
‘The ultimate book about Great Britain’s capital’
‘One of the best books of the year! . . . This is a book about what a city is and can be’
Is there a street in London which does not contain a story from the Empire? Immigrants made London; and they keep remaking it in a thousand different ways. Nazneen Khan-Østrem has drawn a wonderful new map of a city that everyone thought they already knew.
She travels around the city, meeting the very people who have created a truly unique metropolis, and shows how London’s incredible development is directly attributable to the many different groups of immigrants who arrived after the Second World War, in part due to the Nationality Act of 1948. Her book reveals the historical, cultural and political changes within those communities which have fundamentally transformed the city, and which have rarely been considered alongside each other.
Nazneen Khan-Østrem has a cosmopolitan background herself, being a British, Muslim, Asian woman, born in Nairobi and raised in the UK and Norway, which has helped her in unravelling the city’s rich immigrant history and its constant ongoing evolution.
Drawing on London’s rich literature and its musical heritage, she has created an intricate portrait of a strikingly multi-faceted metropolis. Based on extensive research, particularly into aspects not generally covered in the wide array of existing books on the city, London manages to capture the city’s enticing complexity and its ruthless vitality.
This celebration of London’s diverse immigrant communities is timely in the light of the societal fault lines exposed by the Covid-19 pandemic and Brexit. It is a sensitive and insightful book that has a great deal to say to Londoners as well as to Britain as a whole.
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