"Better Books of Charing Cross Road, the most influential bookshop of its time."

BETTER BOOKS | BETTER BOOKZ. Art, Anarchy, Apostasy, Counter-culture  & the New Avant-Garde. 

Edited by  Rozemin Keshvani, Axel Heil & Peter Weibel. 

The 1960s saw London become the centre of a transatlantic cultural revolution that set off a radical reformulating  of the possible in artistic creativity. The result was an explosion in time-based art forms - film,  events, actions, conceptual art, process-based practices and performance.

The legendary independent London poetry bookshop Better Books on the Charing Cross Road was one of the key spaces where this revolution   began.  A hub for Allen Ginsberg, William Burroughs, Alexander Trocchi, John Latham, Jeff Nuttall, Bob Cobbing, Barry Miles, Gustav Metzger and countless others, for their ideas and approaches to art, film, literature, and activism. With its unique range of books, offbeat events, poetry readings, film screenings, and happenings, Better Books became the hot spot of London’s 1960s counter-culture scene.

This book is the first to examine this special historic moment, combining previously unpublished texts, documents, and photographs with the voices of the protagonists who authored this revolution.

With Essays by Rozemin Keshvani and Barry Miles and contributions by Philip Cohen, Stephen Dwoskin, John Hopkins, Graham Keen, Bruce Lacey, Gustav Metzger, Jeff Nuttall, Frank Popper, Criton Tomazos, and Islwyn Watkins.

Koenig Books, London 2018.

The future of the past, vol. 6. 

21,5 x 28,5 cm. 

pages 320 

images 345 (165 colour) 

ISBN 978-3-96098-458-0

Production / Corporation / Exhibition 

ZKM | Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Trondheim kunstmuseum


Henry Moore Foundation, Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art


What are people saying?

Paul Buck, poet

Loved the book. Made me laugh when I read Miles talking about banging books together to remove dust. I do that always -- something I picked up at Better Books. A great document of the period and place. 

Michael Horovitz, poet

I have enjoyed your massive Arbeit – you seem to have touched an admirably wide spectrum of specific recent (r)evolutions with both textual & visual acuity I’ve only rarely encountered amidst a pretty voluminous ingestion of comparable tomes: here’s wishing Better Books every recognition & feedback you could wish for. 

Annea Lockwood, artist & composer

A magisterial book. It opened up so many joyful memories of that time, place, those people of my early life. It is a huge work of research and of imagination - the design is is a vital capstone to the exhibition.

Mark Vaughan, journalist & educator

It’s brilliant! I’ve looked at every page and read a few pieces. The whole book is very stimulating - absolutely fascinating and a real joy for me to be taken back to that time. 

Jeff Cloves, poet


I used to buy

all my City Lights books

at Better Books:





The family of Man photos book

Peace News


I didn't use

any other bookshop 

Mordecai Richler, author

Better Books of Charing Cross Road, the most influential bookshop of its time...