London Dossier by Len Deighton (Penguin)

by Modculture 26 March, 2012

London Dossier by Len Deighton

London Dossier by Len Deighton

This is a book by Len Deighton…but London Dossier is not a spy novel.

In 1967, Len Deighton was challenged to bring together a contemporary travel guide to the London of ‘then’, using writers familiar to the city, unedited and true to their thoughts and true to all aspects of the ‘real’ London.

The end result is a fascinating book, a guide to ‘Swinging London’, written at the time, by the people who (you could argue) were a part of it. It’s a travel guide for locals and indeed visitors. The book’s cover also has that icon of ‘Swinging London’, Twiggy, in full colour (the picture is the 2nd page -only initially visible through the ‘cut out keyhole’ on the front sleeve of the book – often damaged over time).

The book covers all aspects of London life, and even includes a guide for further reading! It also covers the (then) contemporary mod scene, for example, there’s a large section on the ‘teenager’, which is very much a focus on the mod scene. One startling revelation is that there are mods as old as 22 (indeed the book points out that no-one knows what happens to old mods as they have yet to have a generation of them)!

The book was ‘of it’s time’ and will not be re-pressed. Tracing a copy down isn’t always easy, but they do occasionally appear. Hardback copies cost a small fortune.

The best place to find one is doing a search on eBay, where copies occasionally come up.