Book Review: David Olusoga, Black and British

Deborah's pic
Book Review: David Olusoga, Black and British
Derborah recommends David Olusoga's introduction to the Black British experience.

EXTRACT: “Today we remember the Industrial Revolution for the hard, difficult work of our ancestors who worked in the factories and mills.  But we have forgotten the almost 1.8 million Black men and women of the American South who lived and died as slaves to grow the cotton. The enslaved people of the Deep South never set foot in Britain, but they are part of British history. This is just one example of the ways in which the histories of Black people have often been missed out of the British history we learn at school… Britain’s population is changing.  More of us than ever are members of families that include people of different skin colours and ethnicities. Black history helps explain how national history is intertwined with our family histories. It helps us make sense of the country we are today.”

I found this book to be a highly accessible read, and suitable for both secondary level children and adults. Accompanying illustrations are black and white photographs and there is a good smattering of original maps, photographs and historical documents recounting our existence in the British Isles from 27 BC (Roman Times) to the 2012 London Olympic Games.  This creates a pretty extensive sweep of history. In addition, the simplicity and direct language used makes this a book you can return to time and time again.  

There is even a passing reference to the tumbling of the statue of Edward Colston in Bristol, bringing the fractious story of Britain bang up to date. There are 9 Chapters, a Glossary and an Afterword by the Black Curriculum of which the author is a Patron.


Book Contents

Romans 27 B.C. – 476 A.D.

Tudors 1485 - 1603

Stuarts 1603 - 1714

Georgians 1777 - 1837

Victorians 1837 - 1901

First World War 1914-1918

Second World War 1939 - 1945

The Twentieth Century

I recommend this book as it is a solid but ‘easy’ introduction to Britain and its historical African relations and relationships. Go out and buy it! Gift it to your loved ones or complete strangers...It’s only 217 pages.

Macmillan Children’s Books, 2020 £6.99 (GBP)