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Out of the Ashes: Britain after the riots Paperback – 17 Nov 2011

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Product details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Books (17 Nov. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0852652674
  • ISBN-13: 978-0852652671
  • Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.1 x 21.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 387,729 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


This is one of the best political books of 2012 (Mark D’arcy, Bbc Politics Online)

Out Of The Ashes is full of ideas and insight, and presents a politician with a genuine understanding of the difficulties and fears of the people he represents - a quality we're going to need as much of as possible in the years ahead (Huffington Post UK)

Lammy offers thoughtful arguments about immigration, work, masculinity and crime and punishment (New Statesman)

Part memoir, part political essay, Out of the Ashes aims to "offer a way forward for Britain" following this summer's riots. This is an ambitious task. But David Lammy hits the ground running ... and his book demands to be read (David Matthews Guardian)

Compelling (Independent)

Book Description

The MP for Tottenham examines the riots of August 2011

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By John Oldmixon on 23 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
David Lammy grew up near the Broadwater Farm estate; he spent much of his childhood without his father; he understood, as a boy on a scholarship to a private school, what it was like to be black in a white man's world; and he knew first hand the tensions of living in a deprived area. You might expect this to at least give him an edge of bitterness, or at any rate to indulge in what another reviewer has called 'lefty Guardian hand-wringing'. It is to his credit, and his book's readability, that he has done neither of these things. What one appreciates about this book is the grace with which he brings his own background and experiences to bear on outlining lessons to be learnt from the second social catastrophe in a generation to be visited on Tottenham.

There are insights into the work Lammy does as a genuinely local politician which might make one pause to wonder how the modern MP for a needy constituency is really meant to carry out his work, given current feeling against actually funding a half decent support system. But I digress. The real virtues of this book are the readable and engaging way in which Lammy takes us through the social and political tensions that both gave rise to, and were illuminated by, the 2011 Tottenham riots, together with his range of projected solutions. Certainly some of the solutions may seem to err on the utopian side of practicability, and I personally remain sceptical about the credibility of accurately measuring the repayment potential of social impact bonds. But many of his proposals are rooted in schemes that have already been tried, and could well benefit from a wider roll-out.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By TJB on 22 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
As a self-described centre-right voter I did not expect to be enamored with this book (it was forced upon me by a friend). However, I must say I was pretty impressed with the wide-ranging but also concrete proposals. These embraced cries from both the right ("bring back smacking") and the left (more representative ethnic composition of the met). The punitive vs. Rehabilitative element of sentencing was particularly innovative.

Oveall,the book was very easy to read and to relate each point to the central narrative around the riots. The downside was that is still sometimes seemed like a little piecemeal, with a problem:solution format. In future a more lengthy volume will be needed from David, perhaps taking harder and broader stances on some of the issues. Nonetheless, well worth reading, and profits go to charity rather than the author after all!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Eugene Akwasi-Ayisi on 29 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
This book should be required reading for every politician, policy-maker and member of the public that cares about the society we live in.

A society where everyone has a stake, weather that be in the workplace,or community is an argument that has been ignored for far too long. The book shows that inequality doesn't work - it doesn't deliver a cohesive society or a sustainable economy.

As a local resident in Tottenham and particularly the Broadwater farm estate - David Lammy in his book depicts accurately the feelings in the community before and after the riots. The book also provides a break in tradition of politicians offering policy insights at the end of their career rather than mid career - a practice in my opinion that should be encouraged.

All around an excellent read with real insight and depth of the issues and very credible policy based solutions going forward.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Francis Woods on 19 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
With `Out of the Ashes' David Lammy has risen like a Phoenix from the flames in my estimations. Which is not to say I thought he was particularly bad before - it's just I didn't think he was particularly anything apart from not being the British Barack. I knew he'd been a relatively young and precocious MP, that he'd held various government positions under Blair and Brown, and that he was generally well meaning and well liked.

But given that I have never voted Labour, and under `Two Nose Jobs' Miliband probably never will, Lammy hasn't really loomed large on my political radar. However, having come across `Out of the Ashes', and enjoyed it very much - in fact, I found myself nodding and grunting in agreement on the tube every morning this week - I'll be keeping a close eye on Lammy from now on.

The thing is, while Obama's autobiographical treatise reads a bit like the kind of soaring rhetorical wet dream Aaron Sorkin would have had while writing The West Wing, Lammy keeps things simple and sensible. Sure, the book is part autobiography, part manifesto. But as the MP for the same Tottenham constituency where he grew up, Lammy brings an authenticity and a genuine sense of compassion to what could otherwise have been a standard bit of post-riots lefty hand-wringing from Guardian Books.

Lammy talks about tackling the root causes of the riots, not just the symptoms, but you get the real sense that he means it - that this isn't just another politician spouting off with idealistic, unachievable platitudes.
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