In April this year we’ll be publishing the new paperback edition of Alban Webb’s wonderful book London Calling: Britain, the BBC World Service and the Cold War.
During the Cold War the BBC became an essential adjunct to British diplomatic and foreign policy objectives, and the World Service was considered the primary means of engaging with attitudes and opinions behind the Iron Curtain. Although funded by government Grant-in-Aid, the Service's editorial independence was enshrined in the BBC's Charter, Licence and Agreement. London Calling explores the delicate balance of power that lay in the relations between Whitehall and the World Service during the Cold War.
We were delighted to hear the recent news that the book has been awarded the prestigious Longman-History Today Book Prize 2015, fighting off competition from a number of other excellent scholarly titles. In his speech during the awards ceremony Paul Lay, editor of History Today, relayed how London Calling was described by the four judges as ‘scholarly and accessible, a resonant, brilliantly researched tale that grows more pertinent by the day.’
You can read more about the awards ceremony and see pictures from the night here.
And here is an extract from Taylor Downing’s review of London Calling, which will appear in the March edition of History Today:
"Webb guides the reader through the intricacies of FO and BBC politics with great verve. He uses the BBC Written Archives (which are rarely consulted by historians) to tremendous effect. The climax of his story, the account of the Suez crisis, is a real page-turner. The book provides a new take on Britain’s position in the first decade of the Cold War. Scholarly and accessible, London Calling is a fine read and a worthy winner of the Longman-History Today Book Prize."
We think the book is fully deserving of these words of praise – congratulations to the author!
If you want to find out more about London Calling and pre-order a copy of the new paperback, please visit its page on our Bloomsbury website.