Victor Sebestyen

At Our Worst, and Our Best

Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain

By

Little, Brown 403pp £20 order from our bookshop

THIS TOPICAL BOOK should be compulsory reading for all immigration officials and politicians eager to sound off on one of the most emotive issues facing Britain today. People on every side in the immigration debate will find their complacent assumptions shaken by this brilliantly argued, well-researched and challenging work. Those who believe this small island is being swamped by foreigners from alien cultures who will destroy an ancient way of life can learn how often in the last thousand years similar predictions have been made. Liberals who have convinced themselves that, if The Sun and the Daily Express did not exist to whip up nasty xenophobia, the natural generosity of the British public would assert itself with a loud welcome to ‘outsiders’ had better think again. Intolerance has always fought closely with tolerance in the British character, and sometimes it has won. Immigrant communities, too, d be faced with some searching questions. Whatever lip service might be paid to multiculturalism in modern Britain, many new migrants may ask themselves whether it would not be more pragmatic to integrate and try to blend in rather than emphasise their ‘otherness’.

Follow Literary Review on Twitter

  • Last Tweets

    • With our February issue about to go to press, enjoy a slice of LR history - Hilary Mantel on Joan Haslip's biograph… ,
    • What did London look like in the 6th Century? Rory Naismith's 'Citadel of the Saxons' tries to answer that questi… ,
    • Start your week with a dose of Russian Revolutionary zeal. Donald Rayfield reviews Tobie Mathew's 'Greetings From t… ,
    • A treat from the LR Archive: exactly 20 years ago, Malcolm Bradbury reviewed John Updike's 'Bech at Bay' ,
    • ‘When bullets come close, the noise they make as they go past changes from a zing to a crack’ John Lanchester's dy… ,
    • Man with a Bloody Paintbrush: Robin Simon on Lucian Freud ,
    • Jane Ridley reviews The Diaries of Kenneth Rose (ed. D R Thorpe) ,