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A unique look at London during the First World War, seen through the eyes of the people who lived there by an acclaimed writer who ‘is to London as Boswell is to Johnson’

‘Zeppelin Nights is social history at its best… White creates a vivid picture of a city changed forever by war’ The Times
2018 marks the centenary of the end of the First World War. In those four decisive years, London was irrevocably changed. Soldiers passed through the capital on their way to the front and wounded men were brought back to be treated in London’s hospitals. At night, London plunged into darkness for fear of Zeppelins that raided the city. Meanwhile, women escaped the drudgery of domestic service to work as munitionettes. Full employment put money into the pockets of the poor for the first time. Self-appointed moral guardians seize the chance to clamp down on drink, frivolous entertainment and licentious behaviour.

Even against a war-torn landscape, Londoners were determined to get on with their lives, firmly resolved not to let Germans or puritans spoil their enjoyment. Peopled with patriots and pacifists, clergymen and thieves, bluestockings and prostitutes, Jerry White’s magnificent panorama reveals a battle-scarred yet dynamic, flourishing city.

‘Jerry White's name on a title page is a guarantee of a lively, compassionate book full of striking incidents and memorable images… This is a fast-paced social history that never stumbles… A well-orchestrated polyphony of voices that brings history alive’ Guardian

Reviews

Zeppelin Nights is social history at its best… White creates a vivid picture of a city changed for ever by war

Robbie Millen, The Times

Jerry White's name on a title page is a guarantee of a lively, compassionate book full of striking incidents and memorable images… This is a fast-paced social history that never stumbles… A well-orchestrated polyphony of voices that brings history alive

Richard Davenport-Hines, Guardian

White delivers in brilliant time-eclipsing detail an evolving and often deeply moving portrait of a city that became gradually squeezed to its limits

Juliet Nicolson, Sunday Telegraph

Jerry White is masterful at mixing hard facts and statistics with telling anecdotes

Craig Brown, Mail on Sunday

A superbly detailed account… Professor White has written a fine social history that portrays London as a teeming nerve centre of the Allied war effort

Ian Thomson, Financial Times

If you only read one [book about the First World War], choose Zeppelin Nights, which is packed with new information and avoids the clichés that are wearying us all

Eleanor Updale, Tablet

A fascinating study

Christopher Hart, Sunday Times

An extraordinary tale… [White] tells it with gusto, nuance and panache

Saul David, Evening Standard

Intriguing and often surprising

Sunday Times

[A] timely book… Fascinating

Times Higher Education

White is London’s foremost historian

Church Times

In a hectic history, teeming with life at all levels, from West End to East End, from music hall to munitions factories, from society balls to sweatshops, the voices of wounded soldiers, dazed refugees, liberated women and sharp-witted Londoners sing and weep throughout this constantly surprising story

Iain Finlayson, Saga

A convincing and exhaustive account of what Londoners experienced from 1914 to 1918

John Hinton, Catholic Herald

A rich social history… White is as adept with individual characters as he is with the statistics of munitions production

New Statesman

Few people have a better grasp of the history of London than Professor Jerry White

Sally White, Daily Mail

Fresh, interesting… Vivid and often moving

Ekin Karasin, UK Press Syndication

White writes with the fluency of a novelist, and this book can be hugely recommended

Mark Le Fanu, Spears Wealth Management Survey

A first-rate social history

Ian Thomson, Guardian

As ever with Jerry White, the broader themes are peppered with wonderful, throwaway trivia, while the main thrust is both meticulously researched and highly readable

Londonist

White’s book is a true piece of art

Susannah Perkins, Nudge

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780099556046

    February 15, 2015

    Vintage

    384 pages

    RRP $27.99

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  • EBook

    9781448191932

    May 1, 2014

    Vintage Digital

    384 pages

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