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Brit(ish)

On Race, Identity and Belonging
Written by: Afua Hirsch
Narrated by: Afua Hirsch
Length: 11 hrs and 27 mins
Categories: Biographies & Memoirs

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Publisher's Summary

Random House presents the audiobook edition of Brit(ish): On Race, Identity and Belonging written and read by Afua Hirsch.

Afua Hirsch is British. Her parents are British. She was raised, educated and socialised in Britain. Her partner, her daughter, her sister and the vast majority of her friends are British. So why is her identity and sense of belonging a subject of debate? The reason is simply because of the colour of her skin.

Blending history, memoir and individual experiences, Afua Hirsch reveals the identity crisis at the heart of Britain today. Far from affecting only minority people, Britain is a nation in denial about its past and its present. We believe we are the nation of abolition, but forget we are the nation of slavery. We sit proudly at the apex of the Commonwealth, but we flinch from the legacy of the empire. We are convinced that fairness is one of our values but that immigration is one of our problems.

Brit(ish) is the story of how and why this came to be and an urgent call for change.

©2018 Afua Hirsch (P)2018 Random House Audiobooks

Critic Reviews

" Brit(ish) is a wonderful, important, courageous book, and it could not be more timely: a vital and necessary point of reference for our troubled age in a country that seems to have lost its bearings. It's about identity and belonging in 21st-century Britain: intimate and troubling; forensic but warm, funny and wise." (Philippe Sands)

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  • Hogarth
  • 27-02-18

I feel Brit(ish) too!

"So where are you from?"
"Ealing"
"No, where are you FROM?"
"Oh, do you mean where are my parents from?"
"Yes"
"Oh, they are from Ealing too!"
"No, where do they come from?"

If like many Londoners you have had this conversation while growing up you will appreciate Hirsch's perspectives around growing up Black British.

Often others won't see you as British despite the fact that your parents, grandparents and maybe their parents were all British citizens or British subjects or some combination of the two.

An excellent book about the search for identity which is well read by the author.

This is maybe the third book that I have written a review of in over 12 years of being an audible member. Definitely worth a credit.

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  • Melem
  • 06-04-18

So much insight

Firstly, I really like the fact this audio book is read by it's author, I feel like you hear it how you are supposed to. It is also great to read it from a UK viewpoint instead of the typical American one. Much of the content rang true to me and I loved the use of quotes and mentions of other books to add to my reading list.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Dr. M. D. Togobo
  • 21-02-18

An excellent insight into growing up non-white in the UK

This book conveys brilliantly the nuances, the everyday struggles and the messages received while growing up as a non- white living in Britain. Afua does an excellent job in articulating the deeper and subtle issues of race and identity by using her own life to depict this.

The book is a must read for non-white British who are first generation decedents and beyond.

It is a must read for white British parents who have children of mixed races or for those who simply wish to understand what it means to be non-white in the UK.

It intellectually dissect the British mindset of whites and non-whites from colonialism to Brexit and Afua doesn’t shy away from her own mindset and gives her honest and critical thoughts of her own life and perceptions of UK and the countries of her parents origin.

Her words were filled with emotion and her characters she depicts from her husband through to her aristocratic house mate made the book a great listen.

22 people found this helpful

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  • Lenley Albert
  • 05-11-18

Great Brit (ish)

An excellent book very insightful and thought provoking. I particularly enjoyed the views and opinions on identity and the integration into British society. A possible negative for me, was the lack of mention, understanding and support of black police officers and what they have been through in contrast. However overall a great book and fascinating exploration.

6 people found this helpful

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  • LadyJane
  • 21-10-18

simply outstanding

this is a gorgeous book. Afua is outstanding at articulating not only her experiences but those of others too. She clearly shows how society is not as open and willing as those in power places would have you think.
I listened to this after my boyfriend - who coincidentally is Ghanaian as well - recommended me too, and I am so glad I did.
I recommend you to read or listen to this book, it will certainly enlighten you and make you consider perspectives that previously, you had not.
An excellent piece of literature

5 people found this helpful

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  • Eoghan
  • 19-07-19

Ironic lack of self awareness

Anyone that describes their Oxford college as “small, poor and unpretentious” is displaying, well, yeah.

This is as much the diary of a wealthy professional coming to terms with the trials and tribulations of being a privately educated, Oxbridge graduate legal professional who writes for the guardian as it is about race or British identity.

Hirsch talks about the oppression of British colonialism as if it only affected black populations, and speaks of British culture and values as if these have not included that subjugation and pillage.

In seeking to understand her own identity she seems to have become trapped in a Radio 4 caricature of Britishness, as a side effect of her extremely privileged background.

It’s not a bad read as such, but many of the supporting characters introduced along the way would have much more enlightening stories to share.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Witty
  • 17-11-18

Fantastic!

I did not stop listening, the whole day was dedicated to this book, I cooked, juiced, washed my hair and even edited a little flyer..Took my wifi speakers with me. I could relate to every single word some of my experiences were similar if you swap Jamaica for Ghana. Even my romanticism with Africa died eventually when the realisation hit that I would never be accepted, because in their eyes I was just another Brit... LOL

4 people found this helpful

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  • sarah akigbogun
  • 31-10-18

A seminal work

An important, seminal work, essential reading for anyone interested in the topics of race, identity and belonging.

Insightful, poignant, thoroughly researched and exhaustive.
Passionately read.

4 people found this helpful

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  • ArmourKingN13
  • 12-06-18

Unexpected excellent breakdown of UK culture

loved it, afua does a great job of opening the readers eyes to the struggles of those both black and brown but also those who grow up outside of traditional working class environments. Essential reading

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-11-18

Eye Opening

Loved it, really resonated with me. Afua is authentic and an inspiration. A must read for all!

3 people found this helpful

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  • NellP
  • 22-10-18

Fantastic and informative

Wonderfully written, eye opening and informative, highly recommended for anyone who wishes to think more deeply about issues of race, identity, nationalism and our connection to history

3 people found this helpful