Listen free for 30 days

£7.99/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime

Summary

Paulette Wilson had always assumed she was British. She had spent most of her life in London working as a cook; she even worked in the House of Commons' canteen. How could someone who had lived in England since being a primary school pupil suddenly be classified as an illegal immigrant?  

It was only through Amelia Gentleman's tenacious investigative and campaigning journalism that it emerged that thousands were in Paulette's position. What united them was that they had all arrived in the UK from the Commonwealth as children in the 1950s and 1960s. In The Windrush Betrayal, Gentleman tells the story of the scandal and exposes deeply disturbing truths about modern Britain. 

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio on our desktop site.

©2019 Amelia Gentleman (P)2019 Faber & Faber Ltd

What listeners say about The Windrush Betrayal

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    253
  • 4 Stars
    35
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    0
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    186
  • 4 Stars
    50
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    230
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

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

An exposé worthy of Jessica Mitford

The Windrush scandal exposed by Amelia Gentleman which exploded into headlines in the Guardian a couple of years ago was mostly just headlines to me. I don't usually read depressing stories of state cruelty to the brown folks who populate the immigration detention centres of the UK and the US. It's too awful. I usually skip to the next story. So I was glad to see she'd written a whole book, a way for me to get a belated handle on the scandal. Gentleman narrates the story herself and as she calmly and clearly develops her theme you can detect some icy outrage at the enormity of the harm caused by the catastrophic indifference of public officials. It's a gripping tale, Gentleman brings the victims' stories alive and then tells us how she used her amazing journalistic skills to expose misdeeds at the highest reaches of the government (spoiler alert: the Home Secretary had to resign). Then she takes us to Jamaica to track down some of the Windrush victims stuck there. Okay, Mitford, writing about an equally horrific subject (The American Way of Death), has more jokes, but Windrush Betrayal has its lol moments. As she and a Hubert, a man with whom the Home Office had toyed for 13 years - and who didn't quite survive, dying a few months after the publication of the book - emerge triumphant with his passport from Lunar House, a depressing immigration building in a depressing part of London, she says to herself, "This is one of the ugliest corners of Britain, and you could forgive anyone emerging from the Home Office's automatic glass doors, finally British, for having a flash of buyer's remorse as they survey this unwelcoming vision." This is a wonderful read and I can almost forgive her for being married to Boris Johnson's brother.

12 people found this helpful

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

A shocking exposé of racism and betrayal

As I listened to this excellent depiction of the scandal surrounding the treatment meted out to the Windrush generation, I became more and more shocked and ashamed of Britain's betrayal of people who came to 'the motherland' to aid our economy.

It is a tale of abject racism, appalling conduct by The Home Office (under various Prime Ministers) and callous disregard of human rights. That it could happen in the 21st century is truly, truly shocking. The Guardian and Amelia Gentleman are to be applauded for exposing this sorry tale.

This is a disturbing book but one that should be widely read so that everyday citizens can demand better future conduct of politicians, civil servants and third party agencies.

11 people found this helpful

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

Sad. Depressing. Challenging.

I wasn’t sure about this book when it started. Amelia’s descriptions were too divisive. I pictured anyone that had sympathy with the Conservative party being turned off by the language which pitched “good” against “evil”. But this soon toned down and was replaced with facts. So much evidence I became utterly absorbed. Saddened. I challenged my own decision making in my own job. It’s a fascinating - albeit depressing read - not least because we still read stories of deportations of one kind or another.
I guess my only question about this book is who is it for? Or rather will it change an opinion? If you’re right wing in your thinking or simply a racist, will these stories make you change your ugly ways? Probably not. It’s therefore for people who knew that this was a tragic case, and simply wants to understand more of a headline.

9 people found this helpful

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

Informative, heartbreaking and honest account

Informative, heartbreaking and honest account that gives the victims of this scandal a real voice. Well worth a listen

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Racial Injustice

This book will make you ashamed to be British. I believe in fairness, equality, dignity and kindness to everyone. All these attributes were absent from the Home Office implementation of the "hostile environment". The most shocking revelation is how cold-hearted employees were simply doing their jobs by following these cruel policies. 19th century policies such as starvation (no job, no benefits, no health cover) and transportation (so-called repatriation) were used today. Police/Customs raids at dawn, homelessness and detention were common features of the truly unfortunate experiences of these British citizens. These policies had all the hallmarks of racism and fascism. With policies like these, the road to tyranny is only a few steps away for all of us.

2 people found this helpful

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

Brilliant investigative journalism at its best.

Amelia has managed to walk the fine line between very candid professional journalism and the raw emotions of the personal testimonies of the victims.
If you can read this and not be sad, angry or both, then you are, how shall I put it...interesting.

2 people found this helpful

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

Nothing justifies the violation of human dignity!

This story should be in the news everyday until the victims of this betrayal are compensated. I found true and enviable skill in Gentlemen's writing, vivid and emotive, truly capturing the mindset of the victims. The narration is personal and truly mellifluous. It is a testament to the author and her hard work, dedication and absolute investment into the plight of these people. The resilience and tenacity she has demonstrated here is Saintly. I really enjoyed hearing about the (few) success stories, that were truly heartwarming.

I was tempted to remove a star for sections of the post-script, but could not detract praise from such a piece of important work.
This time could have been better spent telling you to go to the Windrush website and donate money to fund legal action and support the victims. Visit the Runnymead website for letter templates you can write to your MP to maintain pressure on the government to pay reparations and expedite bureaucratic processes. You don't throw water over an electrical fire to put it out, you take away its fuel and suffocate it!

I felt Gentlemen let herself down when entering into typical Guardian Asch-conformist, spurious, vitriolic, contradictory, diatribe that the UK is racist and anti-immigration. The Windrush scandal is a depiction of institutional racism and rightly emphasises the duty of society to challenge things and not descend into apathy. That does not mean that the whole country run around screaming "They took our jobs!" Maybe she should include herself in her description of the leaders at Whitehall; "Smart people come from too narrow a background", to understand the inflammatory nature of this prose, detracting the focus of her work. This is offensive and unhelpful.

Excellent on the whole though, incredible work.

2 people found this helpful

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

Important

Fantastic record of Ms Gentleman’s investigation. The research exposes the indifference at best, of this government’s disregard of the people who helped build this country. Shocking. Would have liked an addendum to reflect the outcome of the main individuals featured, eg Paulette. In reality, I suppose that wouldn’t be possible. This is a ‘must read’.

1 person found this helpful

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

Incredibly thought provoking

I had no idea about the Windrush Betrayal. I should have, I should have known. It's an incredible expose and a listen that made be sob and ashamed to be part of the establishment. Please do take the time to listen you won't regret it.

1 person found this helpful

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

Outstanding

Amelia Gentlemen has researched and written a professional, articulate and fascinating look I to the workings of the UK Home Office and the fundamentally racist attitudes and politics that drive its policies and implementation.
The examination of deep questions about inclusiveness and humanity that we should all be asking ourselves is inspiring and humbling as well as leaving me ashamed that I knew so little about the reality of life for so many immigrants and fellow British citizens.

I hope that I will be more aware in the future and be able to contribute to a future of global
acceptance and humanity.

I really enjoying getting to know the persons portrayed in this book and a little about their lives. This beautifully written and read book is often heart wrenching and infuriating but it gives me hope that people like Amelia are prepares to persist in unearthing and voicing injustice. It makes me feel that I take for granted the security of a sense of belonging, that I am complacent in privileges that I take for granted and will try to do more to help and reach out.
Thank you Amelia Gentleman.

1 person found this helpful