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John Sutherland is a father of three, who lives with his wife and children in south London. For the best part of twenty-five years, he has served as a Metropolitan Police Officer. He won the Baton of Honour as the outstanding recruit in his training school intake and rose through the ranks to become a highly respected senior officer. Over the course of his career, in which he has been awarded several commendations, he has worked in seven different London boroughs, in a variety of different ranks and roles, and he has also been posted to Scotland Yard on three separate occasions. His most recent operational job was as the Borough C ommander for Southwark. John can be found on Twitter and Wordpress as 'policecommander'. Blue is his first book.
Author photo © Zac Crawley
An incredibly thoughtful, eloquent, and revealing book about policing by John Sutherland. Not only is it absolutely fascinating, there are also a whole heap of lessons that can and should be learned within its pages. John spent 25 years with the Metropolitan Police, during that time working his way to Borough Commander, leading teams as they dealt with some of the most sad and incredibly damaging aspects facing our society. Now retired on medical grounds, John is a sought-after public speaker and commentator, he regularly speaks on TV and radio, and writes for major newspapers. I can highly recommend his first book, Blue: A Memoir, this new book goes a step further. John issues an invitation to walk with him and witness the scenes behind the blue and white cordon tape. He talks about ten issues we face in the modern world, from domestic violence through to terrorism. He still cares about and loves policing, he also has huge compassion, this, linked with his ability to see the reality of policing, means he can open our eyes. Accessible, considered, meaningful, shocking, inspiring… Crossing the Line has been chosen as LoveReading Star Book, Book of the Month, and a Liz Robinson Pick of the Month. It really is the most crucially important piece of writing for the whole of our society to absorb, all I can say is, read it! Read our Q&A with John Sutherland.
April 2018 Book of the Month A searingly honest memoir of the uplifting highs and crushing lows of a life spent policing on the front line. A Sunday Times top-five bestseller 'This is a remarkable book . . . profound and deeply moving . . . It has as much to tell us about mental illness as it does about policing' Alastair Stewart A candid, objective, cooly passionate, and often unsettling account of policing from a police officer. John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992 aged 22, we see snapshots of his life as an officer, as he progresses up the career ladder, as he deals with all the horrors and glory a life in blue has to offer. From the very first page my attention was sucked in whole, I come from a family of blue, married blue, and spent 20 years as a member of police support staff. Even then, I was on the edge of understanding, I didn't ever have to run towards danger, tell someone a loved one had died, sit with death, experience the bitter lows, the jubilant highs of being a police officer, yet John Sutherland takes you there. As we read we step in and out of a series of events that have all added up to create this man, it isn’t a glittery or gory descriptive feast, but it doesn't have to be, he simply and clearly gives you a connection, and an understanding that under that uniform is flesh and blood and feelings. One thing is abundantly clear, this man loves his job, he feels the continued effort is worth it, and yet it very nearly broke him. It is truly captivating, whether you nod, smile wryly, and wish he could have been your boss, or feel the shock and admiration as you learn what our police are exposed to day after day. ‘Blue A Memoir’ is a worthwhile and fascinating read, I really do recommend it with my heart and soul. John has written an epilogue to his story, which has been included in the paperback of ‘Blue A Memoir’. He speaks with his normal good sense, and he has the remarkable ability to put into words the thoughts and feelings so many officers struggle to properly articulate. He speaks from the heart, and his words made me cry. I wish him every success in his future, and whatever path he decides to explore, I’m quite sure to the many who know him, follow him on twitter, and read his blog, he will forever remain a true inspiration. Liz visited the Chiddingstone Castle Literary Fesitval where John Sutherland gave a talk. To read more about the festival, head over to her Blog Post. Read our Q&A with John Sutherland.
One of Our Books of the Year 2017 | June 2017 Non-Fiction Book of the Month. A candid, objective, cooly passionate, and often unsettling account of policing from a police officer. John Sutherland joined the Met in 1992 aged 22, we see snapshots of his life as an officer, as he progresses up the career ladder, as he deals with all the horrors and glory a life in blue has to offer. From the very first page my attention was sucked in whole, I come from a family of blue, married blue, and spent 20 years as a member of police support staff. Even then, I was on the edge of understanding, I didn't ever have to run towards danger, tell someone a loved one had died, sit with death, experience the bitter lows, the jubilant highs of being a police officer, yet John Sutherland takes you there. As we read we step in and out of a series of events that have all added up to create this man, it isn’t a glittery or gory descriptive feast, but it doesn't have to be, he simply and clearly gives you a connection, and an understanding that under that uniform is flesh and blood and feelings. One thing is abundantly clear, this man loves his job, he feels the continued effort is worth it, and yet it very nearly broke him. It is truly captivating, whether you nod, smile wryly, and wish he could have been your boss, or feel the shock and admiration as you learn what our police are exposed to day after day. ‘Blue A Memoir’ is a worthwhile and fascinating read, I really do recommend it with my heart and soul. ~ Liz Robinson Author, former police officer, and fan of Lovereading Matt Johnson has very kindly sent us the following review: I was already an inspector at Stoke Newington in North London when John Sutherland joined the police. The subtitle to John's first book - 'Keeping the Peace and Falling to Pieces' - was something I was starting to experience just as he entered the world of London policing. And so, for reasons that may be apparent, I approached this book with some trepidation. I've followed John's @policecommander twitter feed and his blog for some time and we have been in touch many times. His blog, in particular, is simply brilliant. Eighteen months ago, he came to the London launch of my debut novel and was kind enough to bring me a present. It was a simple gift, but full of meaning. John brought me a tie, a Hostage Negotiator tie, from the Hendon course that he and I had both attended. Me, in 1991, John many years later. My original tie was lost, something I had mentioned to him and, without being asked, John sourced a replacement. That thoughtful side to John's character comes across clearly in this, his first book. He is a man who cares, a man who builds bridges.'Blue' is John's account of his 25-year policing career in the Metropolis, of his experiences and the challenges he faced, and of the eventual toll it took on his mental health. Reading 'Blue' took me back, long-forgotten memories returned and I felt a sense of re-connecting with my past. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Much of 'Blue' is written in the form of anecdotes, short stories of incidents, of people and of issues facing the police service. The writing style is that of a narrator, and it very quickly draws you in, to the point where you are soon fully engaged. For me, it felt like a warm blanket, comforting and, at the same time, reassuring that our police service is being run by people like John, who clearly care a great deal for the public they serve.'Blue' made me smile, it made me laugh. It made me cry out in frustration and sympathy and, just near the end, it brought a tear to my eye. I won't tell you where, but I suspect you will recognise the moment when you read it for yourself. And, I use that word 'when' quite deliberately, because I feel this book is essential reading for anyone interested in policing, whether it be as a serving or retired officer, or as a person who is interested in what happens behind the scenes of an organisation charged with preserving peace in our society. 'Blue' is a memoir, a one-off account of one man's police career. But it is far more than that. It is an insight into how the pressures and stresses of the high-paced career-focussed lives of our senior executives can place unacceptable and unsustainable responsibilities upon them. A 'must read', if ever there was one. - Matt Johnson
'Wonderful...concise, witty, effortlessly learned.' Sunday Times How does Magwitch swim to shore with a great iron on his leg? Where does Fanny Hill keep her contraceptives? Whose side is Hawkeye on? And how does Clarissa Dalloway get home so quickly? In this new edition sequel to the enormously successful Is Heathcliff a Murderer?, John Sutherland plays literary detective and investigates 32 literary conundrums, ranging from Daniel Defoe to Virginia Woolf. As in its universally loved predecessor, the questions and answers are ingenious and convincing, and return the reader with new respect to the great novels that inspire them.
THE SUNDAY TIMES BESTSELLER IN A BRAND NEW EDITION 'Enchanting...the most engagingly boffiny book imaginable.' Spectator Does Becky kill Jos at the end of Vanity Fair? Why does no one notice that Hetty is pregnant in Adam Bede? How, exactly, does Victor Frankenstein make his monster? Readers of Victorian fiction often find themselves tripping up on seeming anomalies, enigmas and mysteries in their favourite novels. In Is Heathcliff a Murderer? John Sutherland investigates 34 conundrums of nineteenth-century fiction, paying homage to the most rewarding of critical activities: close reading and the pleasures of good-natured pedantry
Did Charlotte Bronte take opium? Did the Reverend Bronte carry a loaded pistol? What, precisely, does `wuthering' mean? Distinguished literary critic John Sutherland takes an idiosyncratic look at the world of the Brontes, from the bumps on Charlotte's head to the nefarious origins of Mr Rochester's fortune, by way of astral telephony, letterwriting dogs, an exploding peat bog, and much, much more. Also features `Jane Eyre abbreviated' by John Crace, author of the Guardian's `Digested Reads' column - read Charlotte Bronte's masterpiece in five minutes!
Orwell's Nose, now available in paperback, is an original and imaginative account of the life and work of George Orwell, exploring the 'scent narratives' that abound in Orwell's fiction and non-fiction. This illuminating and irreverent book provides a new understanding of one of our most iconic and influential writers.
The war on the old has been declared.In the post-Brexit world, intergenerational conflict has become a visible phenomenon. There is an overwhelming sense of blame from younger generations: it was 'the wrinklies', the grey-haired plutocracy, who voted Leave; who are overburdening hospitals, shutting the youth out of the housing market and hoarding accumulated wealth.By 2020, we are told, one in five Britons will be pensioners, and living a longer retirement than ever before. 'A good thing', politicians add, through gritted teeth. The truth is that for them, 'the old' are a social, economic and political inconvenience.John Sutherland (age 78, and feeling keenly what he writes about) examines this intergenerational combat as a new kind of war in which institutional neglect and universal indifference to the old has reached aggressive, and routinely lethal, levels. This is a book which sets out to provoke but in the process tells some deep and inconvenient truths, revealing something British society would rather not think about.
In the year of Charlotte's bicentenary, a light-hearted miscellany on all things Bronte. Did Charlotte Bronte take opium? Did the Reverend Bronte carry a loaded pistol? What, precisely, does 'wuthering' mean?
The ultimate test of grammar rules - the grammar book serialised in the Times feature 'Grammar for Grown-ups'.
Some time ago, John Sutherland permanently lost his sense of smell. At about the same time he embarked on a re-reading of George Orwell's works, and his lack of olfactory sense cast an entirely new light on the re-evaluation. What he now noticed was just how acutely attuned to scent Orwell was: rich descriptions of odours, fetors and reeks occur throughout his works, from Winston Smith's apartment building in Nineteen Eighty-Four: 'The hallway smelt of boiled cabbage and old rag mats,' to John Flory's concubine Ma Hla May in Burmese Days: 'A mingled scent of sandalwood, garlic, coconut oil and the jasmine in her hair floated from her.'Orwell's Nose is an original and imaginative account of the life and work of George Orwell, exploring the 'scent narratives' that abound in Orwell's fiction and non-fiction. Along the way the author elucidates questions that remain unanswered in previous biographies, and addresses gaps in the evidence of the writer's life and legacy. Orwell covered his tracks well; this illuminating and irreverent book provides a new understanding of one of our most iconic and influential writers.
With over 900 biographical entries, more than 600 novels synopsized, and a wealth of background material on the publishers, reviewers and readers of the age the Longman Companion to Victorian Fiction is the fullest account of the period's fiction ever published. Now in a second edition, the book has been revised and a generous selection of images have been chosen to illustrate various aspects of Victorian publishing, writing, and reading life. Organised alphabetically, the information provided will be a boon to students, researchers and all lovers of reading. The entries, though concise, meet the high standards demanded by modern scholarship. The writing - marked by Sutherland's characteristic combination of flair, clarity and erudition - is of such a high standard that the book is a joy to read, as well as a definitive work of reference.
John Sutherland, one of Britain's most celebrated professors of English literature, is here to test, stretch, amuse and instruct you with his definitive quiz on all things grammatical. This is neither a rule book nor a primer but a rollercoaster ride through the mysteries and magic of the world's greatest language.
iGuerilla: Reshaping the Face of War in the 21st Century, is a book in the tradition of Thomas Paine's Common Sense and Winston Churchill's The Gathering Storm. Like Paine, author John Sutherland alerts those in the large populace of the United States and Western Europe that an international war is underway. And like Churchill, he traces the trails of war to the present to bring an understanding of the changing nature of war and the psychology and goals of those who conduct it, and why they conduct it. The book is a projection of the future and delves into the manner in which the future will unveil. It is an illustration too, of how the war is being conducted, by those known as jihadists and the manner in which they use technology to return modern society to a dark age they call the Caliphate. The author describes in detail the weaknesses of those jihadists and how they can be defeated, and the manner that will quiet them for decades to come.
Thirty-one years ago John Sutherland nearly lost everything to drink. It was time to sober up. Or die. Last Drink To LA is part reportage, part confession - not a temperance tale (told to terrify, inform and instruct), not what AA calls a 'drunkalog', but a moving and thought-provoking meditation - some thinking about drinking.
An enjoyable account of a lifelong involvement with literature. -John Vukmirovich, Times Literary Supplement This little history takes on a very big subject: the glorious span of literature from Greek myth to graphic novels, from The Epic of Gilgamesh to Harry Potter. Beloved author, John Sutherland, who has researched, taught, and written on virtually every area of literature, guides both young readers and the adults in their lives on an entertaining journey through the wardrobe to show how literature from across the world can transport us and help us to make sense of what it means to be human. Along the way he introduces us to a wide range of works, enlivening his offerings with humor as well as learning-from Beowulf and Shakespeare to T. S. Eliot and George Orwell, and from the rude jests of Anglo-Saxon runes to The Da Vinci Code. For younger readers, Sutherland offers a proper introduction to literature, promising to interest as much as instruct. For more experienced readers, he promises just the same.
His taste is impressively catholic: an appreciation of The Ambassadors is immediately followed by a consideration of American Psycho. War and Peace, Heat and Dust and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory all make an appearance. There are imposing Victorian novels, entertaining contemporary thrillers and everything in between, from spy novels to romance. In each case a sense of the flavour of the novel is brilliantly evoked and a compelling case made for why it should be a candidate for the bookshelf or bedside table. The end result is both a wonderful dip-in book and a virtual history of the novel.