Customer Review

3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Who are these Philistines!, 8 Jan 2006
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This review is from: London Calling: How Black and Asian Writers Imagined a City (Paperback)
First off I cannot understand the people who scored this with a 1. I am utterly perplexed. Sandhu as we all know is a one off from his Times column and Oxford lectures and the Times is right with is being RICH is his style and his sources and his passion for writing. If anything I was historically transported and living through the eyes of a black and Asian minority on the streets of London thoughout "The Empire" Rich in personality and history and endless facts I didn`t know about social history. Which was what the book set out to do. I can only wonder at what some people were thinking when they ordered this book judging from some reviews. It is full of the ordels blacks and Asians had to deal with in aland also distant to us. The past.It is also full of the opportunities.I`m not even going to overintectualise about it and deconstruct it or get into Adorno and false conciousness of democracies It was absolutely fabulous in style content alone and the characters you meet. I`m a middle class white English man who likes his Bach ( and Ravi Shankar it`s true and Rusdies novels.Black culture to me is Hendrix and Ghana village choirs and Nina Simone. I hadn`t even thought about it too much before. and certainly not from a historical perspective. I now know more what Beau Brummell or how blacks and Asians were viewed and how their expectations and all has evolved and chaged and us with it to today. All detail here and of the mother land as it went through it`s own transitions in taste and art and politics and revolutions and the reality of living in it for all of us. Alot of facts about the economics and prospects. I never would have thought for instance it was good to join the navy for balcks and Asians than staying in service they could make alot more money. Just as an example. The pages hold with entertainment and truth and is informative of other peoples dreams and hopes and irony and just good writing. It is such a joy to see good writing.There are so many dull postmodern dumbed down watered down books about these days even in the biographies section. This book is great.I am still in shock with the 1. scores. I left this book feeling definately edcuated and priviliged with an insight into a world I am hardly aware of. Unlike the negative reviewer I had not hard of many of the famous black writers and characters in the book. it is just not in my field of study. Harvus Peglerus plaudit! Actually. This book is genius. Noone else can write like this!! It`s 5 stars on style content alone. And thrill factor. It was insightful and passionate as the Times said, informative and exciting with irony, class and punch. Though literary style is too much for some people. If style is a cutting tool of clarity and only the stylish remain obscure and nothing can transcend character then this book wins hands down. Definite 5 stars. Anyone seeing it as anything less has woefully misunderstood the work or what they were buying or where they coming from. I am very glad I bought this book. And even more glad I stopped buy to fill in a review on Amazon. The result after reading it is I now at last havea foothold on some great Asians and blacks of history in and around London. Names new to me but characters expounded with wit and real love. It is a weclome addition for us Whitely Middle class dudes who are not following black and Asian culture with a depth. I might DO in future. I loved the way the book was a real tour de froce through history with the charactoers outlined and the skirmishing wit and irony or the writer. Erudite and enjoyable. If this book was to achieve a mix or a personal and well researched insight into the history of blacks and Asians in London and what a subject really then it suceeded very well. The writer was not out to fill in areas for those already in the know and acquainted to some people with pre-established awareness . Not in all cases.Look like their alreayd have their own opinions. But objectively I would say a very welcome addition to the genre. But don`t ask me what so much as I`m new here to this field. It may be the beginning of further reading for me with the people it talks about.It was certainly a great insight into the Philosophy, zeitgheist and history of the times of great characters of black and Asian origin, veritable heroes really who rose through all to be themselves in the hub of the world. Excellent.
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3.3 out of 5 stars (6 customer reviews)
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Location: Gloucester, Oxford, London, England

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