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Roots, Radicals and Rockers

Billy Bragg

Billy Bragg charts the history, impact and legacy of skiffle – Britain’s first indigenous pop movement.

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A Rough Trade, Mojo and FT Book of the Year

Emerging from the jazz clubs of the early 1950s, skiffle – a uniquely British take on American folk and blues – caused a sensation among a generation of kids who had grown up during the dreary post-war years. Teenagers were looking for a music of their own in a culture dominated by crooners and mediated by a stuffy BBC. Against a backdrop of Cold War politics, rock and roll riots and a newly assertive working-class youth, Billy Bragg charts – for the first time in depth – the history, impact and legacy of a movement that sparked a revolution and shaped pop culture as we have come to know it.

Critic Reviews

Roots, Radicals and Rockers is full of fascinating digressions but it also traces the grand sweep of an unfurling counterculture, from its politics to its music. With an archivist’s sense of mission, a musician’s knowledge and a fan’s joy, Bragg performs a real national service: illuminating a moment all too easily lost.

Sunday Times
Critic Reviews

A first-rate work of history.

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

With music acting as a centrepiece, Bragg adroitly links the changes in films, politics, television and teenage life as he proceeds . . . Impressive and puts one “in-the-room” throughout.

Critic Reviews

Billy Bragg has a long-standing interest in [skiffle], and his passion for those early days of frantic strumming and washboard-driven rhythms is clear throughout his eloquent and thoroughly researched book

Critic Reviews

Deeply researched . . . Bragg is an evangelic guide.

Mail on Sunday
Critic Reviews

A revelatory and energetic study of skiffle music that makes the case that it was a vital staging post for British pop and rock

Sunday Times 'Books for the Beach'
Billy Bragg

Stephen William ‘Billy’ Bragg is an English singer-songwriter and left-wing activist. His music blends elements of folk music, punk rock and protest songs, with lyrics that span political or romantic themes. His music is heavily centred on bringing about change and getting the younger generation involved in grass-roots activist causes. His book Roots, Radicals and Rockers: How Skiffle Changed the World was…

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Billy Bragg