Released on 28 January 2016.

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This is London

Life and Death in the World City

4.05 based on 598 ratings & 77 reviews on

2016 Long-listed

Baillie Gifford Prize


Longlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize 2016, formerly known as the Samuel Johnson Prize.

This is the new London: an immigrant city. Over one-third of Londoners were born abroad, with half arriving since the millennium. This has utterly transformed the capital, for better and for worse.

Ben Judah is an acclaimed foreign correspondent, but here he turns his reporter's gaze on home, immersing himself in the hidden world of London's immigrants to reveal the city in the eyes of its beggars, bankers, coppers, gangsters, carers and witch-doctors. From the backrooms of its mosques, Tube tunnels and nightclubs to the frontlines of its streets, Judah has supped with oligarchs and spent nights sleeping rough, worked on building sites and talked business with prostitutes; he's heard stories of heartbreaking failure, but also witnessed extraordinary acts of compassion.

This is London explodes fossilized myths and offers a fresh, exciting portrait of what it's like to live, work, fall in love, raise children, grow old and die in London now. Simultaneously intimate and epic, here is a compulsive and deeply sympathetic book on this dizzying world city from one of our brightest new writers.

In the media

Compassionate, fresh and courageous
A chronicle of the capital so incisively up-to-date it is disconcerting, invigorating, and depressing all at once . . . Judah allows the new Londoners to speak for themselves and, in so doing, shines a light on the dark corners of the city
Mail on Sunday
A wonderfully-written, fascinating account of modern-day life, offering a glimpse of the world from those arriving in the city hoping for a better life. . .an important, detailed read on the stories of those often unheard
Press Association