About Jerry White

Jerry White is an award-winning historian of London. His latest book, The Battle of London, 1939-1945, a social history of London in the Second World War, will be published by Random House (the Bodley Head) on 4 November 2021.

Jerry worked in local government, mainly in London, from 1967 to 2009. During that time he was Chief Executive of the London Borough of Hackney (1989-1995) and was one of the three Local Government Ombudsmen for England (1995-2009), with responsibility for South London among other areas.

Jerry is Emeritus Professor of Modern London History at Birkbeck, University of London.

Upcoming Publication

The Battle of London, 1939-1945

Published by The Bodley Head 4th November 2021

The Battle of London

The immense drama of London in the Second World War gets a significant re-telling in this new book by award-winning historian Jerry White. It puts at the centre of the narrative the citizens of London’s local civil defence forces, largely written out of subsequent histories of the ‘myth of the Blitz’. These men and women were London’s backbone during the greatest sustained bombardment experienced by any city in history. But this is no simple history of popular heroics. It offers a refreshingly ‘warts-and-all’ chronicle that reveals the underside of civic solidarity in the spiteful hostilities of class and race, and in the rejection of dominant values by black-market traders and petty thieves. And it gives for the first time a long view of the effect of the war on the history of London, especially in government policy to push people and industry out of the city once hostilities ceased.

This is a riveting social history of these tempestuous six years, drawn afresh from diaries written by Londoners at the time, from official records and local newspapers, all vividly recording London at war. At the end of it all, the Battle of London was won not on the playing fields of Eton but in the playgrounds of a thousand council elementary schools across the capital.

Jerry White's Books

Jerry White's Books