100 books like The War Against the BBC

By Patrick Barwise, Peter York,

Here are 100 books that The War Against the BBC fans have personally recommended if you like The War Against the BBC. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of 1984

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Author Of Legacy of the Third Way

From my list on books to take you to the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

From a young age, I've been captivated by evolution and its implications for the future. I immersed myself in classical works of philosophy and literature that explored human emotions and our relentless drive to succeed against all odds, advancing human knowledge and shaping society. This fascination with understanding the future led me to write op-ed pieces on foreign policy and geopolitics for prominent newspapers in South Asia. My desire to contribute to a better future inspired me to author three nonfiction books covering topics such as the Islamic Social Contract, Lessons from the Quran, and Reflections on God,  Science, and Human Nature. 

Abdul's book list on books to take you to the future

Abdul Quayyum Khan Kundi Why did Abdul love this book?

Humans are always curious about what the future will look like. They are also concerned about the state impinging on their privacy and interfering with their lives. George Orwell masterfully combined these two human impulses in his classic novel. He wrote the book in 1949 to present his view of the future.

I read this book when I was in my mid-20s. I found it an interesting read, especially since many of his predictions did not come true. I was curious to know how past generations viewed our generation. 

By George Orwell,

Why should I read it?

42 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…


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

John Mair Author Of The BBC at Nearly 100

From my list on the BBC and why it is under threat.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Mair is a former BBC Current Affairs Producer. He is the editor of 42 ‘hackademic’ books (mixing hacks and academics). Six of them are on the BBC. He frequently broadcasts on the topic. He is currently working on an updated collection on the privatisation of Channel Four, a tourist guide to The Inspector Morse Franchise and Oxford. My book titles are apocalyptic by design but that reflects the true state of possible existential crisis I perceive the BBC to be about to experience. I am gloomy but do not think I am wrong. Good reads if I say so myself. All are brimful of informed comments.

John's book list on the BBC and why it is under threat

John Mair Why did John love this book?

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…

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,…


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

John Mair Author Of The BBC at Nearly 100

From my list on the BBC and why it is under threat.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Mair is a former BBC Current Affairs Producer. He is the editor of 42 ‘hackademic’ books (mixing hacks and academics). Six of them are on the BBC. He frequently broadcasts on the topic. He is currently working on an updated collection on the privatisation of Channel Four, a tourist guide to The Inspector Morse Franchise and Oxford. My book titles are apocalyptic by design but that reflects the true state of possible existential crisis I perceive the BBC to be about to experience. I am gloomy but do not think I am wrong. Good reads if I say so myself. All are brimful of informed comments.

John's book list on the BBC and why it is under threat

John Mair Why did John love this book?

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…

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…


Book cover of This New Noise

John Mair Author Of The BBC at Nearly 100

From my list on the BBC and why it is under threat.

Why am I passionate about this?

John Mair is a former BBC Current Affairs Producer. He is the editor of 42 ‘hackademic’ books (mixing hacks and academics). Six of them are on the BBC. He frequently broadcasts on the topic. He is currently working on an updated collection on the privatisation of Channel Four, a tourist guide to The Inspector Morse Franchise and Oxford. My book titles are apocalyptic by design but that reflects the true state of possible existential crisis I perceive the BBC to be about to experience. I am gloomy but do not think I am wrong. Good reads if I say so myself. All are brimful of informed comments.

John's book list on the BBC and why it is under threat

John Mair Why did John love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of His Majesty's Hope

Joyce Tremel Author Of Death On A Deadline

From my list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been fascinated with historical fiction, especially the World War II era, ever since I listened to my mother playing her Big Band Records. I’ve also loved mysteries since I picked up my first Nancy Drew book. Once I discovered historical mysteries, I haven’t been able to separate the two. I’ve recently expanded my interest to include the first world war. There are so many great stories that I’m afraid I’ll never get to read them all. It was really hard to narrow down my list to five books and I hope you’ll love the ones I’ve chosen for you.

Joyce's book list on historical mysteries with women in non-traditional jobs

Joyce Tremel Why did Joyce love this book?

I adore this entire series, and especially this third book. Maggie Hope, who started out as a typist for Winston Churchill is now a full-blown spy for MI-5 and is sent to Germany.

I love seeing Maggie’s development throughout the series. Even when faced with what seem like insurmountable odds, she doesn’t give up. Maggie is the epitome of a woman working not only in a job that was likely considered “man’s work” but doing it splendidly.

By Susan Elia MacNeal,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked His Majesty's Hope as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • For fans of Jacqueline Winspear, Laurie R. King, and Anne Perry, whip-smart heroine Maggie Hope returns to embark on a clandestine mission behind enemy lines where no one can be trusted, and even the smallest indiscretion can be deadly.

World War II has finally come home to Britain, but it takes more than nightly air raids to rattle intrepid spy and expert code breaker Maggie Hope. After serving as a secret agent to protect Princess Elizabeth at Windsor Castle, Maggie is now an elite member of the Special Operations Executive—a black ops organization designed to…


Book cover of Salt Lick

Jane Rogers Author Of The Testament of Jessie Lamb

From my list on believable British stories set in the near future.

Why am I passionate about this?

Writing my eighth novel, The Testament of Jessie Lamb, I had to move the story into the future in order to explore the topics I was trying to understand. I think through writing: sometimes I feel it is only through writing that I really engage with the world. Work on Jessie Lamb entailed a lot of scientific and future research, and after that I read more and more future fiction, with an increasing appetite for the work of writers who are really interested in exploring where we are headed as a species, and how we might try to survive the damage we have inflicted on the earth.

Jane's book list on believable British stories set in the near future

Jane Rogers Why did Jane love this book?

I came across Salt Lick when hunting for novels on the topic of climate breakdown.

I was looking for writers who go beyond the doom and gloom, to find either rays of hope or at the very least a story where life and love might survive. For me, hope was an essential element in Jessie Lamb’s story. And in Salt Lick, Allison does deliver a dogged kind of hope for her strange trio of wandering central characters.

Beyond that, she delivers bewitchingly beautiful prose; her first page is a masterclass in description.

By Lulu Allison,

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

LONGLISTED FOR THE WOMEN'S PRIZE FOR FICTION

'A compelling fable of decline, a lament for a way of life, and a warning about what society is already becoming. It is a capsule of England and its dystopian present ... as sad and angry as it is memorable' Ronan Hession

'Salt Lick is that rare beast - imaginative, risky storytelling where every sentence is a gift' Heidi James

Britain is awash, the sea creeps into the land, brambles and forest swamp derelict towns. Food production has moved overseas and people are forced to move to the cities for work. The countryside…


Book cover of Foundation

Bill Thompson Author Of Callie

From my list on kick off a great series.

Why am I passionate about this?

During my decades in the corporate world, I traveled extensively and spent months in England, where I became a devoted Anglophile. I am privileged to have met Queen Elizabeth II and Philip, and to have attended a knighting at Westminster. English history fascinates me, but so do gripping spy thrillers occurring in European and Middle Eastern settings. There’s nothing better than finishing a satisfying first book in a series—fiction or not--and deciding to ration the remaining ones so you can savor the experience a little longer! 

Bill's book list on kick off a great series

Bill Thompson Why did Bill love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Blind Justice

Laura C. Stevenson Author Of All Men Glad and Wise: A Mystery

From my list on mysteries that make a time and place come alive.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m an historian who writes novels, and an avid reader of historical murder mysteries—especially ones whose characters are affected by social, religious, and political change. Lately, I’ve been fascinated by the breakup of rural British estates between 1880 and 1925, when, in a single generation, the amount of British land owned by the aristocracy fell from 66% to perhaps 15%. I thought it might be interesting to set a “country house” mystery on one of the failing estates, with a narrator influenced by the other great change of the period: from horses to automobiles. “Interesting” was an understatement; writing it was eye-opening.  

Laura's book list on mysteries that make a time and place come alive

Laura C. Stevenson Why did Laura love this book?

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.

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".


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

Melissa McShane Author Of Burning Bright

From my list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve loved the Regency era since first reading Jane Austen’s novels, but in writing my series of 19th-century adventure fantasies, I discovered there was so much more to the period than I’d ever dreamed. Though their culture and traditions aren’t like ours, I’m fascinated by how much about the lives of those men and women is familiar—the same desires, the same dreams for the future. I hope the books on this list inspire in you the same excitement they did in me!

Melissa's book list on touring the unfamiliar corners of Regency England

Melissa McShane Why did Melissa love this book?

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.

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…


Book cover of Zero History

Janet Stilson Author Of The Juice

From my list on novels that wonder about the future.

Why am I passionate about this?

There are days when it seems like all I do is imagine what the future holds. I love reading “wonder tales,” as I’ve heard Margaret Atwood call them – novels that imagine how our world might change or fantasize about completely different realms. At the same time, they reflect on conditions in our world today. That’s what I do with my own creative writing. I was trained to think about the future as a journalist, talking with media executives about how their content and technology are evolving. My stories have appeared in Asimov's; they’ve been selected by the Writers Lab for Women; and my novel The Juice was published in February.

Janet's book list on novels that wonder about the future

Janet Stilson Why did Janet love this book?

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.

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…


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