About the Book

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Three times in the last sixty years musical movements have played a vital role in confronting the rise of racist and fascist organisations in Britain - The Stars Campaign for Interracial Friendship in the 1950s, Rock Against Racism in the late 1970s and Love Music Hate Racism in the first two decades of the 21st century.

Babylon’s Burning is a tribute to those three musical movements and the musicians, activists and youth subcultures that surrounded them, and an in-depth study of the rise of modern fascist movements and the political strategies needed to defeat them.

About the Author

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Rick Blackman was born in north London, but raised in Southall, west London. He is an anti-racist activist, a musician, songwriter, arranger, and producer.

He is also a history and politics lecturer specialising in British/European and American Modern History. Rick has a lifelong obsession with subcultures and his life has been profoundly influenced by his teenage engagement with Rock Against Racism. He splits his time between Liverpool and London.

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Never mind the T-shirts, banners and badges this is the real bollocks. A timely publication that gets behind the angry faces - tabloid headlines and rhetoric on both sides of the fence. I’m first generation British born black and music n’ style driven subculture went some way to making me the man I am today - as did the racial climate. It’s through this prism that Babylon’s Burning makes its case. Covering the last six decades it has particular resonance with this child of Windrush born in 1956. In the wake of today’s socio-political climate this forensic study is an essential read.

Don Letts
Musician, DJ, film maker and broadcaster

A captivating chronicle of successful anti-fascist and anti-racist struggles spanning the decades from Oswald Mosley to Tommy Robinson, fusing political activism with music and culture to help mobilise resistance.

Peter Hain
Politician and co-founder of the Anti Nazi League

Since the 1950s, popular music has always been in the front line of the push back against racism in the UK. Babylon's Burning traces this history to shed light on how each generation of music fans has organised to oppose the menace of fascism.

Billy Bragg
Musician, author and activist

As British reggae musicians who are very much involved with Love Music, Hate Racism to this day, this book makes for a fascinating read. We remain aware and proud of the history popular music - especially reggae - has in this country of standing against racism, a history to which Rick Blackman's research has made an indispensable contribution.

Musicians and Love Music Hate Racism supporters

Babylon’s Burning is a vital introduction to an extraordinary strand that linked three cultural movements over the last 70 years that fused music with the ongoing fight against racism

Red Saunders
Photographer, activist and co-founder Rock Against Racism

We make a difference. Music lovers, musicians, anti-racist activists and fans have time and again driven back those who try to divide us. This marvelous book highlights three major movements that helped turn the tide on the racists in Britain. It is a wonderful complement to our book Reminiscences of RAR.

Roger Huddle
Designer, poet and co-founder Rock Against Racism

Rick Blackman's book is important for underlining the continuity of struggle: the ingredients of fascism never wholly disappear. In Babylon's Burning, the high-profile campaign of Rock Against Racism is located in a longer history of challenging fascism and racism in culture and society. As a lesson from history, this book is a compelling read and very much part of a campaign as relevant today as it ever was.

Matthew Worley
Professor of Modern History, University of Reading


For press inquiries about Babylon’s Burning, to interview the author or arrange an event, please email: [email protected]

For inquiries about book distribution, please email: [email protected]

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