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‘We prefer their company’

Sadiah Qureshi: Black British History, 15 June 2017

Black and British: A Forgotten History 
by David Olusoga.
Pan Macmillan, 624 pp., £25, November 2016, 978 1 4472 9973 8
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... for help she was told ‘Madam, there were no black people in England before 1945.’ In fact, as David Olusoga’s remarkable book shows, people racialised as black have been in Britain for more than two thousand years. During the third century, North African Roman soldiers formed part of the occupation of the British Isles: ‘Aurelian Moors’ were ...

Ends of the Earth

Jeremy Harding: ‘Mimesis: African Soldier’, 6 December 2018

Mimesis: African Soldier 
by John Akomfrah.
Imperial War Museum, until 30 March 2018
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... the Boches as a pleasing omen of more to come of the same sort’.By the turn of the century, as David Olusoga explained in The World’s War: Forgotten Soldiers of Empire (2014), Britain had already sorted its Indian subjects into martial races (mostly hardy mountain types from the Punjab and Nepal) and effeminate races (typically people of the plateau ...

Not in a Box

Julian Barnes: Mary Cassatt as Herself, 26 April 2018

Mary Cassatt, une impressioniste americaine a Paris 
Musée Jacquemart-André, Paris, until 23 July 2018Show More
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... two of her ‘Japanese’ prints in an episode of the TV show Civilisations, while in a later one David Olusoga brought In the Loge to his argument. A print from 1896 In Little Girl in a Blue Armchair (1877-78) a girl of perhaps six or seven half-sits, half-lies, in large armchair. She looks as if she has originally been posed, in a white lacy dress ...

I going England tomorrow

Mendez: ‘The Lonely Londoners’, 7 July 2022

The Lonely Londoners 
by Sam Selvon.
Penguin, 138 pp., £16.99, June 2021, 978 0 241 50412 3
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... citizens of the Commonwealth in 1948. In his documentary The Unwanted: The Secret Windrush Files, David Olusoga observed that the 1948 British Nationality Act was intended to attract Canadians, Australians and New Zealanders, who would be easily absorbed into the majority population, restoring Britain’s manpower after the war, while keeping it ...


Eyal Weizman: Three Genocides, 25 April 2024

... folks in all parts of the world.’ These connections have been discussed more recently by David Olusoga and Casper W. Erichsen in The Kaiser’s Holocaust (2010), and by Juergen Zimmerer in From Windhoek to Auschwitz? (2019). The links between the genocide in South-West Africa and the Holocaust depend on something else that Zimmerer makes ...


Alan Bennett: Selling my hair on eBay, 6 January 2022

... light comedy written by William Douglas Home, with the legendary A.E. Matthews, Cecil Parker and David Tomlinson. I know the play well, or should, having been in it at school in the Tomlinson part. After a succession of female roles (including Katherina in The Taming of the Shrew), my voice had broken at long last and this was the first male role I was ...

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