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Black and British: A Forgotten History

de David Olusoga

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381667,398 (4.35)51
A Waterstones History Book of the YearLonglisted for the Orwell PrizeShortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak PrizeA vital re-examination of a shared history, published to accompany the landmark BBC Two series.In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare's Othello. It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain's global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.… (mais)
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Mostrando 1-5 de 6 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
THIS BOOK IS AMAZING IT WILL CHANGE YOUR PERSPECTIVE ON EVERYTHING IT IS A MUST READ AND WILL LEAVE YOU SO STRICKEN. IT IS A MUST READ. ( )
  TrinityYouth | Aug 4, 2022 |
This books was so so necessary for me to read. It is really well written and engaging and highlights just how bad a job UK schools do at teaching black British history, and also how very easy it was for me, as a white person with an interest in history, to get to this point in my life not having a clue about a lot of this stuff.

I picked this book up because I was impressed by Olusoga’s episodes of the otherwise disappointing Civilisations BBC documentary series and his fascinating House Through Time programmes, and I was definitely not disappointed. ( )
  sadbean | Jan 14, 2022 |
From the African legionaries stationed on Hadrian's Wall to the riots in Brixton and Toxteth in 1981, Olusoga takes us through nearly 900 years of black history in Britain. He doesn't quite live up to his protestations that this is "forgotten" or "suppressed" history. From general reading of British and colonial history, I knew about the majority of the events and people he talks about — at least in outline — but that's not the point: context matters, and Olusoga brings out all sorts of interesting insights by presenting these things as part of a long-term story rather than as exotic add-ons to the history of a given period or place.

It really helps, for instance, to be able to see how the Abolition fervour of the early 19th century peaked with Uncle Tom's Cabin in 1852 and then started to shade away into Abolitionist self-satisfaction, Confederate propaganda, economic self-interest and the beginnings of "scientific" racism in the 1860s. All things we know about, in principle, but this is the first time I've seen them all brought together and their interactions charted out.

This is an enormously valuable book because of the way it gives you that kind of overview and perspective, in an accessible, popular narrative format, without fuss, but with a generous bibliography and a good index. But of course it has to limit itself: Olusoga is really only looking at Britain's links with West Africa, the Caribbean, and the USA, with only the briefest of nods to other parts of Africa and almost nothing on Asia. And this doesn't set out to be a complete history of the slave trade or the African and Caribbean colonies, nor is it a detailed sociological study of the origins of racism: there are plenty of other places where you can read about those things. ( )
3 vote thorold | Dec 24, 2020 |
This book is so detailed and interesting. Much of the history is harrowing, heartbreaking and difficult to read. Still, I learned so much about the UK and the British Empire.
'Black' Britons have existed since Roman times. Longer than the descendants of Danes who are not questioned as belonging in Britain. ( )
  LoisSusan | Dec 10, 2020 |
It's taken me a while to get through this book, partly because it's fairly chunky, partly because it's dense with facts and information about a difficult subject and 50 pages a day tended to be my absolute max before I felt mentally exhausted, and partly because it gave me so much to think about, and at times I made slow progress as I meandered off into thought mulling over what I'd just read.

Olusoga has written such an extremely thorough history of black people and Britain that if I hadn't been so mentally worn out by the end I'd have started right away at the beginning again to try and soak up more facts that I didn't retain first time around (to be fair, I have continued to dip in and out of it since finishing it). There is so much to cover and Olusoga does it methodically, taking us from the development of Britain's triangular trade route with Africa and America (which traded gold, ivory and slaves), to the sugar industry that fuelled the use of slaves in the West Indies, and Britain's eventual u-turn and abolition of slavery and efforts to combat it. This, of course, is anything but a simple history, and muddying the waters of the British moral efforts to eradicate slavery in the 1800s was the huge elephant in the room of it's ongoing reliance on slave-produced cotton from America for it's burgeoning textile industry, and the growing discomfort in some areas of white society with the increase in numbers of black people within the population.

Beyond Britain's industrial age, Olusoga examines the role and treatment of black people both during and after WWI and WWII, but gives a light touch to the race riots of the 1950s and 1980s and modern day race relations.

Given how utterly horrendous much of Britain's black history at the hands of white men has been, it is to Olusoga's credit that he is mostly very objective and even-handed in the analysis of his research. Having read this book I feel strongly that this is a part of history which white adults and children in Britain need to be better educated on, as without understanding the appalling historical experiences of black people in Britain (and beyond) it's impossible to properly contextualise many of today's modern racial issues. I'm shocked that I studied history up to A Level yet had never been taught most of what is in this book.

If I had to critique this book, my one disappointment is that Olusoga galloped in a few pages from post-war Britain to the present day. Having informed the reader so effectively on the history of the previous centuries, this felt like a hugely missed opportunity to better understand modern-day racism. In his short section on the 1981 Brixton riots, for example, he mentions the rising tensions in the black community over police discrimination associated with the new stop and search law, but ignores the issue of the rise in violent inner city crime in south London that precipitated this. As this issue of police racial discrimination is still a super hot topic given recent events in the States, it would have been great to have Olusoga's analysis on this. Was this another example of racism that the perception across many parts of Britain was that these early 80s London crimes were carried out by black gangs? Do the facts support or refute that?

All in all a dense but superbly written history of black British history. 150 pages less would have made this a less arduous read, but there is so much ground to cover it would probably be difficult to shorten it without missing out key information. I would love for Olusoga to write a follow up that goes into much more detail on the period from 1950 to present day.

If anyone is interested in this topic but can't quite face 500-odd pages of small print, Olusoga has a shortened version of the key facts coming out in October in the UK in a book called Black and British: A Short Essential History.

4 stars - A hugely important book. Recommended. ( )
1 vote AlisonY | Sep 24, 2020 |
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David Olusogaautor principaltodas as ediçõescalculado
Courdelle, EmilyDesigner da capaautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
Foster, JoEditorautor secundárioalgumas ediçõesconfirmado
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Dedicated to the Memory of

Adesola Oladipupo Olusoga

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Isaiah Gabriel Temidayo Olusoga
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When I was a child, growing up on a council estate in the North-East of England, I imbibed enough of the background racial tensions of the late 1970s and 1980s to feel profoundly unwelcome in Britain. (Preface)
About twenty miles upriver from Freetown, the hilly capital of Sierra Leone, is a small oval-shaped island which from a distance looks no different to any of the other small, oval-shaped islands that are irregularly dotted along the Sierra Leone River. (Introduction)
The people of the British Isles and the people of Africa met for the first time when Britain was a cold province on the northern fringe of Rome's intercontinental, multi-ethnic and multi-racial empire.
The opening ceremony of the 2012 London Olympic Games, a vast, globally televised pageant that celebrated the British national story, and that revelled in the nation's diversity, music and pop culture, included a mock-up, miniature Empire Windrush. (Conclusion)
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This is the book. Please do not combine with videos. David Olusoga has written three books called Black and British (Forgotten / Illustrated / Short Essential). They are different books.
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A Waterstones History Book of the YearLonglisted for the Orwell PrizeShortlisted for the inaugural Jhalak PrizeA vital re-examination of a shared history, published to accompany the landmark BBC Two series.In Black and British, award-winning historian and broadcaster David Olusoga offers readers a rich and revealing exploration of the extraordinarily long relationship between the British Isles and the people of Africa. Drawing on new genetic and genealogical research, original records, expert testimony and contemporary interviews, Black and British reaches back to Roman Britain, the medieval imagination and Shakespeare's Othello. It reveals that behind the South Sea Bubble was Britain's global slave-trading empire and that much of the great industrial boom of the nineteenth century was built on American slavery. It shows that black Britons fought at Trafalgar and in the trenches of the First World War. Black British history can be read in stately homes, street names, statues and memorials across Britain and is woven into the cultural and economic histories of the nation.Unflinching, confronting taboos and revealing hitherto unknown scandals, Olusoga describes how black and white Britons have been intimately entwined for centuries.

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