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London: Immigrant City

Nazneen Khan-Ostrem

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Social & cultural history

'One of the best books on the many diverse migrations to London . . . revealing the extent to which the diversity of immigrant origins has had transformative effects - through food, music, diverse types of knowledge and so much more. The book is difficult to put it down'
Saskia Sassen, The Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, New York

'The ultimate book about Great Britain's capital'

'One of the best books of the year! . . . This is a book about what a city is and can be'

This is celebration of London's diverse immigrant communities, and a timely reminder of just how intrinsic immigrants are to the fabric of London - and British - life. This is an entirely new map of a city everybody thinks they already know which brings London into sharp focus as the city of immigrants that it is, particularly of those 'children of Empire' who arrived after the Nationality Act of 1948.

Nazneen Khan-Ostrem's whole life has been connected to London and the British Empire, and with London she has fulfilled a long-term ambition to write a book that connects that empire directly with London, to show how the city's inhabitants have created a truly unique metropolis. London's incredible development is directly attributable to the many different groups of immigrants who arrived after the Second World War following the British Nationality Act of 1948. Khan-Ostrem's book captures the historical, cultural and political changes within diverse communities which are seldom considered together. She connects the very many dots to show how truly global London is. In doing so, she has succeeded in overlaying an entirely new map on a city everybody thinks they already know.

Nazneen Khan-Ostrem - a British, Muslim, Asian woman, born in Nairobi and raised in the UK and Norway - goes on a quest in London to meet the people who have shaped the most cosmopolitan city in the world, but also to understand more about her own identity. With Britain being more divided than it has been in a generation, and with many calling for an end to immigration, London remains emphatically and proudly a city of immigrants.

Drawing on her own experiences, London's rich literature and journeys and encounters around the sprawling city, the author has created an intricate portrait of a truly multi-faceted metropolis. Extensive research has helped to focus on what has not to date been covered in any of the numerous existing books on London. In particular, London sheds light on the way the city was rebuilt and transformed after the Second World War largely by immigrants from Britain's former colonies. London's development, as well as that of Britain as a whole, is directly

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Nazneen Khan-Ostrem

NAZNEEN KHAN-OSTREM was born in Nairobi and is a Kenyan Asian of Pashtun descent. Raised in the UK and Norway, and still a British citizen, she has worked as a television presenter for NRK and an arts journalist for the Norwegian broadsheet Aftenposten. Nazneen graduated from the London School of Economics with a MSc in International Relations in 2000 and started working as an assistant professor in Journalism at Oslo Metropolitan University. Her first book, My Holy War, about Islam and identity, was published in 2005; and in 2007 she was selected for the Edward R. Murrow Exchange Program in Journalism by the US State Department. Nazneen joined Norwegian publisher Aschehoug as a commissioning editor in 2011 and is now a staff commentator at Aftenposten.

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