This is London by Ben Judah

This Is London: Life and Death in the World City

  • Book:  “This Is London”
  • Author:  Ben Judah
  • Publisher:  Picador, 2016

What is London?  Or to be even more precise – what is modern London?  We know the main sights – Big Ben, London Bridge and the London Eye.  But what about the people?  Who are the people that make up this beautiful and densely populated capital of Great Britain?

Of course, there’s the royal family – Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince William with his beautiful wife Duchess Kate, Prince Harry and others.  Then, there are celebrities – from actors (Hugh Grant, Jude Law, Daniel Craig), actresses (Kate Winslet, Emma Watson, Keira Knightley, Catherine Zeta-Jones), to models (Kate Moss, Naomi Campbell), singers and bands (Beatles, Spice Girls, Adele, Amy Winehouse), politicians (Winston Churchill), football players (David Beckham) and many others.

But wait, who are the ‘real’ people that populate London?  And what do we know about them?  These are some of the questions that the young, talented author and journalist, Ben Judah, decided to investigate.

And, ‘real’ people he did find – from shop sellers to metro cleaners, from beggars to prostitutes, from native-born to the newly arrived refugees, in other words – a very good representation of modern-day Londoners.  Each person with his or her own narrative, a battered life-story, a genuine variety of character.  Each story is striking and revealing in its own way and some are even deeply disturbing.

The author’s approach to reporting is rather unconventional.  For example, in order to find out more about some of London’s homeless people – he spends a night on the streets with them, living through their experience.  From the very first pages of this book it’s quite obvious that the author is not interested in any superficial explanations; on the contrary – he wants to dig in as deep as possible to get to the core of things.

Above the Clouds - Summiting the Helvellyn

 “This is London” is a book full of Londoners.  So if you’re looking to find out more about who the modern Londoners are, and what are their stories – this is the book.

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