Black and British
‘[A] comprehensive and important history of black Britain . . . Written with a wonderful clarity of style and with great force and passion.’ – Kwasi Kwarteng, Sunday Times
In this vital re-examination of a shared history, historian and broadcaster David Olusoga tells the rich and revealing story of the long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa and the Caribbean.
This edition, fully revised and updated, features a new chapter encompassing the Windrush scandal and the Black Lives Matter protests of 2020, events which put black British history at the centre of urgent national debate. Black and British is vivid confirmation that black history can no longer be kept separate and marginalised. It is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation and it belongs to us all.
Drawing on new genealogical research, original records, and expert testimony, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination, Elizabethan ‘blackamoors’ and the global slave-trading empire. It shows that the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery, and that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of both World Wars. Black British history is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation. It is not a singular history, but one that belongs to us all.
Unflinching, confronting taboos, and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how the lives of black and white Britons have been entwined for centuries.
Winner of the 2017 PEN Hessell-Tiltman Prize.
Winner of the Longman History Today Trustees’ Award.
A Waterstones History Book of the Year.
Longlisted for the Orwell Prize.
Shortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak Prize.
You could not ask for a more judicious, comprehensive and highly readable survey of a part of British history that has been so long overlooked or denied. David Olusoga, in keeping with the high standards of his earlier books, is a superb guide. -- Adam Hochschild Groundbreaking. * Observer * [A] comprehensive and important history of black Britain . . . Written with a wonderful clarity of style and with great force and passion. It is thoroughly researched and there are many interesting anecdotes. -- Kwasi Kwarteng * The Sunday Times * A radical reappraisal of the parameters of history, exposing lacunae in the nation's version of its past. -- Arifa Akbar * Guardian * A thrilling tale of excavation -- Colin Grant * Guardian * [Olusoga] has discovered new and exciting research materials . . . Such sources give his writing freshness, originality and compassion . . . [Black and British] will inspire and will come to be seen as a major effort to address one of the greatest silences in British historiography -- David Dabydeen * New Statesman * Lucid and accessible. * Herald Scotland * Olusoga's account challenges narrow visions of Britain's past. By tracing the triangulated connections between Britain, America and Africa, he presents black British history in global terms [...] His subjects, even those who barely figure in the historical record, appear as individuals who matter, both in their own right and as historical exemplars. * The London Review of Books * An insightful, inclusive history of black people in Britain . . . Rich in detail and packed with strong personalities, this is an important contribution to our understanding of life in the UK. * History Revealed * An insightful, inclusive history of black people in Britain which is rich in detail and packed with strong, interesting characters. -- Stephanie Yeboah * GQ * Ambitious . . . Long overdue -- Hakim Adi * Spectator * Olusoga has single-handedly over recent years forced our forgotten history on the agenda . . . Written with an urgency it is a thrilling and engaging read. * Nigerian Watch * An erudite exploration of racism and how it continues to mutate . . . it is exhilarating to read a fine mind at work. -- Cathy Rentzenbrink * Guardian *
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