This book works with two contrasting imaginings of 1960s London: the one of the excess and comic vacuousness of Swinging London, the other of the radical and experimental cultural politics generated by the city's counterculture. The connections between these two scenes are mapped looking firstly at the spectacular events that shaped post-war London, then at the modernist physical and social reconstruction of the city alongside artistic experiments such as Pop and Op Art. Making extensive use of London's underground press the book then explores the replacement of this seemingly materialistic image with the counterculture of underground London from the mid-1960s. Swinging City develops the argument that these disparate threads cohere around a shared cosmology associated with a new understanding of nature which differently positioned humanity and technology. The book tracks a moment in the historical geography of London during which the city asserts itself as a post-imperial global city. Swinging London it argues, emerged as the product of this recapitalisation, by absorbing avant-garde developments from the provinces and a range of transnational, mainly transatlantic, influences.
Simon Rycroft, Senior Lecturer in Human Geography, University of Sussex, UK
'Swinging City opens revealing geographical perspectives on a period and place that have become obscured by familiar mythologies. It maps the media worlds of Sixties London onto wide ranging networks of provincial and international counter-culture, marked with a radical use of new currents of science and technology as well as some traditional forms of dissent. This Swinging City is as much post-war as new age, more a hard place than a soft city. The Sixties will never be the same.' Stephen Daniels, University of Nottingham, UK 'Rycroft's monograph makes an important contribution towards opening up, revising and ... 're-visioning' work on urban cultures and the twentieth century... Swinging City is an invaluable starting point for further explorations into the 'long' 1960s and its many geographical imaginations.' Urban Geography Research Group '... a remarkably wide-ranging and intricate discussion of the cultural geographies of London in what we might call the ’long’ 1960s: the themes of Englishness/Britishness and Americanization, as well as the challenges to the metropolitan establishment from the provincial margins, for instance, come out in the discussion of the contribution of the ’beats’ and the ’angry young men’...' Progress in Human Geography Rycroft’s Swinging City provides not only an illuminating study of the near present, but is also very much a book for our current geographical times. It provides us with a multifaceted account of a cultural scene that offers an invaluable model for how cultural-historical geographers might usefully contribute to literature on the creative city, as well as how current theoretical agendas can be valuably situated in historical practices and places. Journal of Historical Geography