Listen free for 30 days

  • Natives

  • Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
  • By: Akala
  • Narrated by: Akala
  • Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History, Europe
  • 4.9 out of 5 stars (7,914 ratings)

Listen with a free trial

One credit a month, good for any title to download and keep.
Unlimited listening to the Plus Catalogue - thousands of select Audible Originals, podcasts and audiobooks.
Exclusive member-only deals.
No commitment - cancel anytime.
Buy Now for £19.99

Buy Now for £19.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Summary

A searing modern polemic and Sunday Times best seller from the BAFTA- and MOBO-award-winning musician and political commentator, Akala.

From the first time he was stopped and searched as a child, to the day he realised his mum was white, to his first encounters with racist teachers - race and class have shaped Akala's life and outlook. In this unique audiobook he takes his own experiences and widens them out to look at the social, historical and political factors that have left us where we are today.

Covering everything from the police, education and identity to politics, sexual objectification and the far right, Natives will speak directly to British denial and squeamishness when it comes to confronting issues of race and class that are at the heart of the legacy of Britain's racialised empire.

©2018 Akala (P)2018 Hodder & Stoughton Limited

Critic reviews

"My book of the year. It's personal, historical, political, and it speaks to where we are now. This is the book I've been waiting for - for years." (Benjamin Zephaniah)

"A history lesson of the kind you should get in school, but don't...This is a searing, thought-provoking book." (Stylist

"A potent combination of autobiography and political history which holds up a mirror to contemporary Britain." (Independent)

What listeners say about Natives

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    7,168
  • 4 Stars
    643
  • 3 Stars
    64
  • 2 Stars
    20
  • 1 Stars
    19
Performance
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,329
  • 4 Stars
    427
  • 3 Stars
    49
  • 2 Stars
    8
  • 1 Stars
    13
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    6,088
  • 4 Stars
    565
  • 3 Stars
    86
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    17

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Very Interesting and Challenging Listen

Being a big fan of Frankie Boyle I've seen a number of Akala's appearances on his panel style show. I always felt that Akala was able to cut straight to the heart of whatever matter was being discussed and have been a keen follower of him since.

This book is both an excellent account of the experiences of a mixed race boy growing up in 80's/90's London as well as a dig deeper in to the Empirical history of England and how that has shaped the nations views on race and colour and how they continue to manifest themselves today.

This goes beyond the obvious incidents of racism, such as overt name calling and racially motivated violence and in to the far more damaging and covert world of institutional racism that exists within not only the nations institutions of power but in peoples subconscious thoughts and actions.

I always enjoy audiobooks more when read by the author and Akala does a great job of taking you through his book in a lively and passionate manner which certainly adds to the personal accounts raised by the author.

I'd highly recommend this, it helped me to understand why racism is such a problem today, where it's roots lie and why it won't just go away if we ignore it. Essential and thought provoking reading/listening for people of all colour and creed.

74 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Every boy racialised as BAME must take notes

As a young social scientist myself of mixed raced heritage and from a working class background born in 1993 alot of what Akala has said and experienced is shared with myself and also resonates deeply with me.

This is the first audibook I have ever listened to in my life. The reason I bought this audio book was because I found akalas music and then after content online and was also showed his works at my university in Cambridge Anglia Ruskin University International ARU by several of our lecturers on numerous different occasions.

I have also ordered the hardback copy of natives for Christmas so I have two copies now which is fantastic. If every working class boy in the UK was given this for Christmas then they would be inspired and be able to have foresight on future events and closure on more traumatic past experiences shared by those from the socio demographic backgrounds. Akala is simply amazing and I will endeavour to get my copy of his booked signed as a goal of mine for 2019 big up yourself bigman knowledge is certainly power and there is so much more for us to learn and share.

41 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • M
  • 23-07-19

SPECIAL NEEDS CHAPTER. Nothing has changed.

My 10 year afro Caribbean son had his annual report about a month ago. He is on target for everything yet today I found out they want to put him in the special needs class. Not one
indication of there being a problem throughout the whole year. My son wants to be headboy the system wants to destroy him. AKALA. Nothing had changed. In fact I would argue the educational system has got worse. A brilliant book. I have both hard copy and Audio. We need more like this.

30 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

a real eye opener

I am a 25 year old white male who has a mixed raced fiance. this has really opened my eyes and helped me understand black history. also how the media and government controls what they want you to know and how much of an impact they have on the every day persons thoughts. I recommend this book to everyone no matter what race or age.

29 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Outstanding work by Akala.

Written and read by the brilliant Akala, not a single fault with the book. Tells his story with real history.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Negative

After seeing Akala on various media outlets over the years I wanted to really read or listen to his opinion on Britain and it's society struggles through the years with racism and class and the issue with the British Empire and it's legacy.
At first I found it interesting and wanted to understand but after a while I found the book to be of negative thought process and actually counterintuitive.
Anybody can look at anything on the planet and pick out flaws within society as that is nature and it is not perfectly formed and Akala strangely dismisses his own mum because she is "white and will never understand " which I found strange even though his father was never around , I totally respect Akala and the racism recieved undoubtedly through life I condone but from my feel of the book he has underlying hang ups about colour and race and he focus to much on negatives.
I could not go past the fifth chapter because of the constant repeating of word like "whiteness" blackness it's almost monotone .
For all his intellect Akala is quite self absorbed about himself but he keeps going on about race he's never going to unshackle himself from his predetermined reality which is sad because he sounds like a nice chap.
Apologies for not finishing the book.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Astonishing in every way

I simply cannot recommend this more highly. Being narrated by the author added to my enjoyment, but it is a superbly researched, considered articulate account of race and class - both its history and present situation. Perhaps the highest praise I can offer is that it has inspired me to learn more about aspects of history I was either unaware of or had simply accepted at face value. Having listened to this (and I will listen to it again and possibly also buy the book), I will be far more conscious not just of what I am reading, but who it is authored by and what their perspective and bias might be. Illuminating, accessible, fascinating. Simply the best book I have read/listened to in a long time.

18 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

I couldn't stop listening. Eye-opening and honest.

I was enthralled and educated in areas of human nature and experience that I haven't consciously been exposed to in my 33 years pottering around this ball of rock. The perspective that this book brings is captivating, with humour, sadness and irony dotting the narrative. From start to finish you'll hoping that there's more to come. The only downside of this book is that it wasn't 10 hours longer. Thank you for writing it.

13 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

outstanding

outstanding - worth every minute. great insight and analysis. robust and concise. engaging and though provoking.

12 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Eye Opening

incredible, passionate and concious raising. I really reccomend EVERYONE read this book regardless of your background.

11 people found this helpful

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Lamont D
  • Lamont D
  • 19-09-18

Interesting in parts, but definitely a mixed bag

I found some of Akala's lectures and conversations on YouTube interesting, so I decided to buy the audiobook and listen to what he had to say in a wider context.

As.a.black American, I found some of his insights into his background and racial politics in Great Britain fascinating. Parts of his stories echo things I've experienced or seen over here, while others were completely foreign to me (like the idea of a Pan-African Saturday school). And his stories were interesting, even if I disagreed with a few of his conclusions.

So why not five stars? Well, he doesn't lack for confidence and seems to have a general inability to see his part in things. He unequivocally asserts things without taking the effort to walk you through his logic, and by the late stages.of the book he is throwing around 'obvious' so much that it is completely grating. And by the final chapter, he is throwing so many concepts around that he can't give any of them air to breathe or room to provide true insight into things. By the last chapters in the book, I had to force myself to listen to the last few chapters without cringing - and I was relieved it was over.

A better editor would have helped tremendously.

But despite that, it is an interesting book so I'll give it 4 stars.

4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Daniel
  • Daniel
  • 19-02-20

Excellent material

Akala artfully combined historical research with his personal experience growing up in London creating an authentic and educated look at race in the UK. This book is a must recommend, best book I’ve read this year( 1of 6). I cannot wait for the next project to be released. It’s the only book I’ve ever finished and turned over to start again. I really appreciated natives!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for nonscelus
  • nonscelus
  • 19-12-19

Master Class

As per usual, Akala brings his assertive speech and precision to the review of race and empire. Amazing listen and on-point breakdown of hundreds of years of social and economic history.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Kindle Customer
  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-12-19

Wonderful read!!

I had no idea about the issues blacks in England faced and how similar they are to the issues we face in America. HIGHLY recommend this audible book!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for M. Clark
  • M. Clark
  • 08-04-22

An engaging, fair, and balanced TED talk

This was the most balanced and fair discussion on race and class I've heard. I thought the author did an excellent job showing the relationship between the two and how neither one can be fully blamed for the situation that we are in. I appreciate how the author took the time to research and explain the history, political, and cultural backgrounds of these issues. The author was not afraid to call out problems on both sides of the ideological isle to really get at the heart of the issues.

I know my perspective has changed because of this book and I cannot recommend it enough. Even as an American, listening to the British perspective, issues, and history, it was beneficial and enlightening.

I think for anyone who genuinely wants to understand better the issues of the present and how they are institutionalized, this is a must read.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for DocWhite
  • DocWhite
  • 12-12-21

A must read

Prophetic, bold, poignant, relevant, and timely! This book will hopefully open closed minds in the world.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 31-10-21

AKala does it again

I was very impressed by the information that was given. A non-biased opinion and very educational; the fact that he narrated was perfect.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Dapa
  • Dapa
  • 29-10-21

Intellectually stimulating yet still relatable

As West Indian expatriate of about the same age as the author, I related to this book on many levels. I recognize this alone disqualifies me from being objective, but Akala's story is so diverse and complex, almost everyone will be able to relate to some part of it. If you think this is just a book by a rapper, you'd be mistaken. It's a dynamic social commentary on the makings of a generation and the role of race and colonialism played.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Artis M. Falkner
  • Artis M. Falkner
  • 22-09-21

Fire in the bookshelf

And as a British educated American this is the best book I’ve ever read about the difference between American and British racism and their intersection.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for timothy trebotich
  • timothy trebotich
  • 19-02-21

Very Enjoyable

I enjoyed every second of this book. could have listened to this if it was twice as long.