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on 18 November 2015
Great value!
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on 16 June 2008
Very few sociologists have lived to follow an urban group for 50 years and trace the evolution of a community through the second half of the twentieth century, a period of convulsive change. What happened in this instance amounted to complete replacement of one group by another; something archaeologists usually have to infer from changes in pottery style but here studied in the lives of those affected by it. One reviewer refers in scathing terms to Theodore Dalrymple, the brilliant essayist and observer of the underclass, who demonstrates time and again how treating people as individual agents reveals far more about them statistical studies ever can (see his essay- 'How to read a society' in the wonderful collection 'Our culture what's left of it'). Anyone who disparages Dalrymple is no doubt part of the forces of cultural destruction that afflict modern Britain.
I can only recommend reading this book without being put off by the cries of anguish emanating from the politically correct Marxist establishment that dominates present day sociology in Britain.
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on 23 February 2009
Despite appearances this is not a proper sociology book. There are plenty of charts and numbers but its really just a collection of opinions and anecdotes dressed up as social science. Despite its lack of credence as a science book it should be essential reading for anyone, who wants to scratch the surface of the UK's thirty-year experiment with multiculturism.

It is the story of how, a small community of a few lascars, from Bangladesh, left over from the East India Company, became a community of 70 000, concentrated around Bethnal Green. It lists the various acts of parliament which facilitates the growth and support of this community and the establishment philosophy which underpins it. The book records the strength of hostility of local indigenous white people and attempts to explain its origins, but it is never morally neutral and the tone is always slightly disapproving about white attitudes, while accepting ethnic foibles rather more graciously. It ends with a poignant tale of East Enders singing, There Will Always Be An England, at the end of the Blitz, and the chilling warning that should the experiment go wrong, Bethnal Green might be the breeding ground for terrorists.

Essential reading for modern times.
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on 26 February 2006
Geoff Dench, Kate Gavron, and Michael Young have succeeded in producing a book that is not only well-researched and well-written, but hugely inspiring. London's East End Bangadeshi community is the largest concentration of any one minority group in any borough in the UK; and Dench et al offer observations and lessons that carry real hope for a time which is dangerously close to Islamic/Western conflict. Bethnal Green, the changes it has seen, and the way in which it has developed over the years from being a refuge for exiled Huguenots, Jews, the Irish, and Bangladeshis, is an example of multi-cultural success. Its role has always been 'a point of entry for minority groups into British society,' this in itself makes it an area well-worth historical study, and 'The New East End' is littered with fascinating examples of social change - the Brick Lane mosque, originally a Huguenot church and later a synagogue during the 30's springs to mind - but it also succeeds where so many sociological studies fail in that it offers answers to the problems of ethic integration. Why is Bethnal Green a success story? Is it in part because of Britain's post-colonial guilt and consequent favouritism towards Bangladeshi families involved in housing schemes, or is it because of the continuation of a British colonial tradition of tolerance? 'A tolerance which has always allowed subjects to keep their own customs and religions, and occasionally even rulers.' How have the working-class, white East Enders reacted to their arrival? How did the Jews fare during a similar time in the 1930's? These are the questions that contribute to the social personality of the area, and are discussed with a lucid dexterity that is always engaging and relevant.
What is so appealing for many of the young professionals moving to London nowadays is its cosmopolitan climate; 'The New East End' traces the roots of this cultural development; and even how traditional Sylheti values have contributed to the society we live in.
It does not have all the answers, no, but it is a book which is a valuable social document: as a history of one of Britain's most vibrant communities, and a guide against racial conflict. Trevor Phillips, current Chair of the Commission for Racial Equality calls it 'One of the most important books I've read for a long time.' I couldn't agree more.
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on 20 February 2006
Methodologically the British Community Studies approach never had anything useful to offer to sociology. Arguably its bottom-up inductivism created the very shifting sands into which, with a little nudge from ethnomethodology and so-called feminist methodology, the Queen of the Sciences was to descend into post-modern irrelevance at the end of the last century. If there are no clear and logically formulated theories and no precise, testable hypotheses then a particular study , or a whole mode of ‘analysis’ is no more than another opinion whose power to convince rests only on either the authority of the author(s) or the financial clout of the publisher.
However Wilmott and Young’s landmark FAMILY AND KINSHIP had the tremendous saving grace of a genuinely engaged, respectful and open-minded approach to the ordinary East-enders who made it possible. It also provided a salutory bulwark against the ignorance of the planners.
Michael Young had the foresight to initiate the follow-up study in which the lives of the Bethnal Green dwellers who had been moved out to Greenleigh, Redbridge etc were examined: BETHNAL GREEN TO GREENLEIGH. A further follow up of the area left behind up to half a century later was still in the pipeline when he sadly departed from the East End himself.
THE NEW EAST END is what became of that noble intention, and it is a disingenuous, disastrous exercise in ideological trickery. Influenced by the unsavoury elitism of halfwits like Theodore Dalrymple , and employing nothing which could ever be recognised as sociological method, the book creates the impression that the flight of the white descendants of the working class from the East End is caused by the influx from a part of the former empire of darker skinned Islamic people whose own family connections with the area actually extend almost as far back as those of the Hugenots. There is a huge literature on the dynamics of urban migration going back to the 1920s from which it is obvious that this prejudice is misplaced.
You can be sure that this book will sell and make a lot of money which will neither go to the present inhabitants of the area nor the children of the original subjects. It is a terrible indictment of the state of the “book industry” in the UK that a respectable publisher saw fit to put this out in its present form.
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