This is a post-modern take on race, racism, and particularly anti-racism in Britain between 1945 and 1985. Its fundamental suggestion seems to be that traditional Marxist approaches are not fully helpful in appreciating the value and significance of race issues. The book's emphasis is towards the Afro-Caribbean experience and looks closely at the anti-racist movements of the seventies and also and the popular music of the black 'diaspora' in Britain, the US and the Caribbean. In doing so it picks out the importance of culture as expressed in the life of the community and suggests revolution by a kind of cultural assertion. Parts of the book verge on the unintelligible - 'These diverse elements combine syncretically in struggles to reconstruct a collective historical presence from the discontinuous, fractured histories of the African and Asian diasporas' - is fairly typical. Nevertheless Gilroy's enthusiasm and commitment comes through, he was there, you can smell the silk-screen presses making posters for Rock against Racism and get real insight into for instance what really happened on the Broadwater estate or the Bristol riots. There is a lot of detail and in my view a careful balance is maintained. Gilroy adds a lengthy intro from 2002, somewhat more detached and resigned, but preserves his sense of humour. This is a very valuable overview of our 'multicultural society' for anyone who wants to penetrate the media waffle.
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