11 October 2017
The lives of others
Clair Wills, who teaches at Princeton, has written an authoritative and exhaustive study of post-war immigration to Britain. For a book that carries such heft, not the least of its qualities is the freshness of her approach. “What has struck me most forcibly while writing this book,” she says, “is the disappearance, buried under all the rhetoric, of any sense of the migrants as ordinary people, the near-universal contemporary focus on them as unlike us – as strangers, aliens and outsiders.” So she sets out to tell the story of post-war immigration from their point of view, instead of focusing exclusively on how they have transformed life in Britain.
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