10 books like The War Against the BBC

By Patrick Barwise, Peter York,

Here are 10 books that authors have personally recommended if you like The War Against the BBC. Shepherd is a community of 7,000+ authors sharing their favorite books with the world.

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1984

By George Orwell,

Book cover of 1984

What kind of dystopian author would I be if I hadn’t read 1984, the seminal novel about a surveillance society? I’ll be honest: the book drags a bit in the middle. However, Orwell’s shocking future—in which everyone is under constant observation—was so prescient that it still comes up in tech policy conversations about privacy and surveillance today. I also greatly enjoyed this British author’s knack for irony, such as his contradictory names for government departments. There is a Ministry of Truth that spreads propaganda and a Ministry of Love that uses fear to compel loyalty. Classic!

1984

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

25 authors picked 1984 as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

BIG BROTHER IS WATCHING YOU . . .

1984 is the year in which it happens. The world is divided into three superstates. In Oceania, the Party's power is absolute. Every action, word, gesture and thought is monitored under the watchful eye of Big Brother and the Thought Police. In the Ministry of Truth, the Party's department for propaganda, Winston Smith's job is to edit the past. Over time, the impulse to escape the machine and live independently takes hold of him and he embarks on a secret and forbidden love affair. As he writes the words 'DOWN WITH BIG…


Getting Out Alive

By Roger Mosey,

Book cover of Getting Out Alive: News, Sport and Politics at the BBC

Life as a BBC Executive is like being a frog on a pond of lilies. You start off on a small lily leaf then you hop onto another get bigger ad infinitum until you either drown or become a prince. Mark Thompson is the latter. His last job was President of the New York Times, Roger Mosey is the former. He eventually ran out of BBC lilies to grace and is now head of a Cambridge College; firmly outside the tent ‘looking ‘in. His progress before had been large hops IRN Pennine Radio to BBC local radio to Network editing the World at One and Today. Then to the glamour bit TV-Editor of TV news then Head of Sport and the cherry on the cake-supremo of the 2012 London Olympics. That fortnight was the BBC at its’ supreme best. Roger was the pinnacle. From there the whole pond should…

Getting Out Alive

By Roger Mosey,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Getting Out Alive as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Delinquent presenters, controversial executive pay-offs, the Jimmy Savile scandal...The BBC is one of the most successful broadcasters in the world, but its programme triumphs are often accompanied by management crises and high-profile resignations.One of the most respected figures in the broadcasting industry, Roger Mosey has taken senior roles at the BBC for more than twenty years, including as editor of Radio 4's Today programme, head of television news and director of the London 2012 Olympic coverage.Now, in Getting Out Alive, Mosey reveals the hidden underbelly of the BBC, lifting the lid on the angry tirades from politicians and spin doctors,…


The Fun Factory

By Will Wyatt,

Book cover of The Fun Factory: A Life In The BBC

Will is the Kosygin of the BBC. He survived many changes of regime ending up close to the Britain Himalayan summit as Managing Director Television. Along the way, he made some good programmes and developed some innovations like using a small presentation studio to make the likes of The Old Grey Whistle Test. Later, his documentary features department in Kensington House was huge and productive. Will may have been the ace BBC politician but he was and still is very charming. I know he accosted me in the Waitrose oxford car park many years after I had left the BBC and that has led to a friendship of sorts. He is Oxford/Town Boy -through and through. A local lad whose headmaster in his Walton Manor primary school ‘helped’ him by hinting and more through the 11plus. It was up hills and career mountains from there. Will is ‘Old…

The Fun Factory

By Will Wyatt,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Fun Factory as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A natural and indispensable second in command at the BBC for 35 years, Will Wyatt has none of the public profile or flamboyance of some media household names whose memoirs have appeared in recent years. None the less we should know about him because he had a shaping influence on BBC programmes throughout the 1990s - first as managing director of television and later as chief executive, broadcast. And he played a crucial backroom role in implementing the controversial reforms of that most revolutionary of BBC directors general, John Birt. From night shifts in the radio newsroom to pitching a…


This New Noise

By Charlotte Higgins,

Book cover of This New Noise

Charlotte is a Guardian arts/feature writer whom Alan Rusbridger at the Guardian set off on a social anthropological expedition to New Broadcasting House in 2015. She was openly embraced by the then Director-General Tony Hall. It shows. What emerges is a bit too hagiographic for my liking. A Radio four listener’s view of the Corporation.

It is a snapshot of the upper reaches of the BBC with some history thrown in. Not sure she got close to the shop floor though.

This New Noise

By Charlotte Higgins,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This New Noise as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A brilliantly researched and gripping history of the BBC, from its origins to the present day.

'The book could scarcely be better or better timed. It is elegantly written, closely argued, balanced, pulls no punches.'
MELVYN BRAGG, GUARDIAN

Charlotte Higgins, the Guardian's chief culture writer, steps behind the polished doors of Broadcasting House and investigates the BBC. Based on her hugely popular essay series, this personal journey answers the questions that rage around this vulnerable, maddening and uniquely British institution. Questions such as: what does the BBC mean to us now? What are the threats to its continued existence? Is…


A Useful Woman

By Darcie Wilde,

Book cover of A Useful Woman

Rosalind Thorne’s life as a gently bred woman is upended when her father abandons the family. Finding herself penniless, Rosalind manages to use her connections and considerable skill to help wealthy society women solve their problems, for a discreet payment. In the course of helping a client who wants to become a patroness of Almack’s, the invitation-only social club, Rosalind discovers the body of an acquaintance in the ballroom. The patronesses of Almack’s want Rosalind to hush up the death, while the victim’s sister wants her to find her brother’s killer. Rosalind proves adept at putting the pieces of a very complex puzzle together, at great danger to herself. I loved Rosalind’s determination and cunning as well as the sardonic portrayal of the ton’s countless social rules, spitefulness, and hypocrisy.

A Useful Woman

By Darcie Wilde,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Useful Woman as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Inspired by the novels of Jane Austen, this new mystery series set in 19th-century London introduces the charming and resourceful Rosalind Thorne, a woman privy to the secrets of high society—including who among the ton is capable of murder...
 
The daughter of a baronet and minor heiress, Rosalind Thorne was nearly ruined after her father abandoned the family. To survive in the only world she knew, she began to manage the affairs of some of London society’s most influential women, who have come to rely on her wit and discretion.
 
So, when artistocratic wastrel Jasper Aimesworth is found dead in…


Zero History

By William Gibson,

Book cover of Zero History

This novel represents a sharp turn for me. Until I snapped up Zero History in an airport bookstore many years ago, the science fiction I’d read seemed like dry, intellectual exercises. The characters didn’t have depth. They never made me laugh (or cry). But Zero History unleashed a passion in me for speculative fiction, and eventually, it turned my own writing in that direction as well. To this day, it’s one of my all-time favorite novels. While it’s the third book in a William Gibson trilogy, it is entirely complete on its own. There’s a pop culture, cool vibe about it as the story taps into the lives of three people with unusual gifts – which a global marketing magnate dearly wants to use in various ways.

Zero History

By William Gibson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Zero History as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Gibson is having tremendous fun' Independent

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THE THIRD NOVEL IN THE BLUE ANT TRILIOGY - READ PATTERN RECOGNITION AND SPOOK COUNTRY FOR MORE

Hubertus Bigend, the Machiavellian head of global ad-agency Blue Ant, wants to uncover the maker of an obscurely fashionable denim that is taking subculture by storm. Ex-musician Henry Hollis knows nothing about fashion, but Bigend decides she is the woman for the job anyway.

Soon, though, it becomes clear that Bigend's interest in underground labels might have sinister applications. Powerful parties, who'll do anything to get what they want, are showing their hand. And Hollis is…


Blind Justice

By Bruce Alexander,

Book cover of Blind Justice

Blind Justice, set in 1768, is the first of Bruce Alexander’s 11 Sir John Fielding mysteries. Its hero is the famous blind magistrate of London’s Bow Street Court; its narrator is thirteen-year-old Jeremy Proctor, whom Fielding’s wisdom has saved from an unjust accusation of theft. The pair investigate the death of Sir Richard Goodhope, who has been discovered shot in his library, locked from the inside. Sir John assumes suicide, but Jeremy’s observation of a detail that the magistrate could not see suggests murder. Proof of murder involves following Goodhope’s history through London’s streets, gambling houses, coffee houses, and great houses—to Drury Lane theater and Newgate—in a compelling portrait of eighteenth-century London.

Blind Justice

By Bruce Alexander,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Blind Justice as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first of a series of novels set in 18th-century London and featuring Sir John Fielding - magistrate, detective, founder of the Bow Street Runners, half-brother of Henry, and confidant of such notables as Johnson and Boswell. Sir John is blind, and uses a young orphan as his "eyes".


Foundation

By Peter Ackroyd,

Book cover of Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors

Peter Ackroyd has written several wonderful books about London, the Thames, and aspects of English life, but this six-volume series (the last to come in 2023) is the best and most comprehensive I’ve found. It’s a delightful trip through history, not only covering the politics of the times but giving insight into the daily lives of people from one era to the next, how towns became cities, infrastructure and the system of government developed. The page counts are daunting, but don’t be dissuaded—nobody can make history come alive better than Ackroyd.

Foundation

By Peter Ackroyd,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Foundation as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first book in Peter Ackroyd's history of England series, which has since been followed up with two more installments, Tudors and Rebellion.

In Foundation, the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death, in 1509, of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past--a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a…


The First English Detectives

By J. M. Beattie,

Book cover of The First English Detectives: The Bow Street Runners and the Policing of London, 1750-1840

Captain Gronow shed some light on the darker aspects of the Regency period, which was a time before law enforcement as we know it. But it wasn’t all bad—the Bow Street Runners were the start of a new era of policing. I was fascinated by the story of how these first detectives came to be and how much truth was behind the myth, especially since the myth has become a popular one for fiction writers in recent years.

The First English Detectives

By J. M. Beattie,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The First English Detectives as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This is the first comprehensive study of the Bow Street Runners, a group of men established in the middle of the eighteenth century by Henry Fielding, with the financial support of the government, to confront violent offenders on the streets and highways around London. They were developed over the following decades by his half-brother, John Fielding, into what became a well-known and stable group of officers who acquired skill and expertise in investigating crime,
tracking and arresting offenders, and in presenting evidence at the Old Bailey, the main criminal court in London. They were, Beattie argues, detectives in all but…


A Crisis of Brilliance

By David Boyd Haycock,

Book cover of A Crisis of Brilliance: Five Young British Artists and the Great War

This book covers the drama and upheaval of the years leading up to the war to end all wars, and how five young British artist’s lives were changed utterly by their experiences, with all the energy of a great historical novel. All artists hope to find a powerful subject to drive their work, but this generation had to somehow express the madness and horror they found in those fields of Europe. A later generation would learn from these expressionists, futurists and vorticists and conjure international careers out of those lessons, but this very English group, during this century defining decade, did the heavy lifting.

A Crisis of Brilliance

By David Boyd Haycock,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked A Crisis of Brilliance as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Dora Carrington, Mark Gertler, Paul Nash, Christopher Nevinson, and Stanley Spencer were five of the most important British artists of the twentieth century. From diverse backgrounds, they met at The Slade in London between 1908 and 1910, in what was later described as the school’s ";last crisis of brilliance."; Between 1910 and 1918 they loved, talked, and fought; they admired, conspired, and sometimes disparaged each others’ artistic creations. They created new movements; they frequented the most stylish cafés and restaurants and founded a nightclub; they slept with their models and with prostitutes; and their love affairs descended into obsession, murder,…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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