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Andy Beckett's Top Book Recommendations

Want to know what books Andy Beckett recommends on their reading list? We've researched interviews, social media posts, podcasts, and articles to build a comprehensive list of Andy Beckett's favorite book recommendations of all time.

Reyner Banham examined the built environment of Los Angeles in a way no architectural historian before him had done, looking with fresh eyes at its manifestations of popular taste and industrial ingenuity, as well as its more traditional modes of residential and commercial building. His construct of "four ecologies" examined the ways Angelenos relate to the beach, the freeways, the flatlands, and the foothills. Banham delighted in this mobile city and identified it as an exemplar of the posturban future. less
Recommended by Andy Beckett, and 1 others.

Andy BeckettI’m very interested in Los Angeles, my favourite city apart from London. I’ve been there many times and find it fascinating that it was the fashionable urban prototype of the late 60s. Banham’s book epitomises that and helped create the idea. It’s about the new consumerism and whether it can be accommodated within a society that is still relatively just. He’s not a Thatcherite. He may like people... (Source)

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There is another modern British history - an alternative tradition in our government, politics and economics. It is a history kept rather quiet, a tradition largely hidden from view - suspiciously well hidden, some would say. less
Recommended by Andy Beckett, and 1 others.

Andy BeckettWhat Cockett spots, which very few other writers on the 70s spot, is that the roots of what happened on the political right went back a long way. The neo-liberal counter-revolution, and a pro-market anti-trade union attitude, built up from the end of World War Two, if not earlier. You could argue that the counter-revolution happened before the revolution itself. That it developed through the 50s... (Source)

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The History Man

Recommended by Andy Beckett, and 1 others.

Andy BeckettI think The History Man is actually quite detailed social history. It’s meant to be about the early 70s. But it was published in the mid-70s and perhaps its picture of the early part of the decade is too dominated by concerns with the political left. I think the left’s real hold on the universities wasn’t really established until later in the 70s. It probably reached a peak in the early to... (Source)

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Style Wars

Recommended by Andy Beckett, and 1 others.

Andy BeckettEveryone associates him with the 80s and sees him as an apologist for its excesses. But that’s not quite right. He started writing for GQ in the early 70s, which was when he made his name. What you get from Style Wars is the sense that the 70s was great fun for many people, especially in London. That was quite a surprise when I first read the book 20 years ago. The 70s was notorious for being a... (Source)

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Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy

A modern classic in which John le Carré expertly creates a total vision of a secret world, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy begins George Smiley's chess match of wills and wits with Karla, his Soviet counterpart.

It is now beyond a doubt that a mole, implanted decades ago by Moscow Centre, has burrowed his way into the highest echelons of British Intelligence. His treachery has already blown some of its most vital operations and its best networks. It is clear that the double agent is one of its own kind. But which one? George Smiley is assigned to identify him. And once...

Sam BourneThis is an example of the meticulously supreme thriller. John le Carré really is the master of the form, and any list of thrillers has to include that book. It’s a very emboldening book for thriller writers, because it teaches you not to underestimate the understanding of your reader. They can be pushed and pushed. It is an incredibly intricate plot and yet, if you write it well enough, as he... (Source)

Robert BaerLe Carré has the ability to add drama and colour. For classic espionage in a little town in Germany, you can’t do better than le Carré. (Source)

Andy BeckettI find the darkness in le Carré particularly interesting because it’s quite melancholic. It evokes a sadness about Britain and the establishment at that time. There’s a sense of the world closing in. He really captures that in the book. (Source)

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