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The Windrush Betrayal

Exposing the Hostile Environment
Narrated by: Amelia Gentleman
Length: 10 hrs and 9 mins
Categories: History, Europe
4.8 out of 5 stars (116 ratings)

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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

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    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.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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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.

6 people found this helpful

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Informative, heartbreaking and honest account

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

3 people found this helpful

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  • JW
  • 23-06-20

Windrush explained- highly recommended

Brilliant - I had not realised the extent of the Windrush debacle - I cannot believe how badly they were treated and for how long! Utterly disgusting. The author manages a good balance between facts and figures and the human element - I couldn’t stop listening. Excellent journalism. I hope the success of this book puts more pressure in the government to resolve the ongoing issue of compensation quickly as they’ve suffered enough.

1 person found this helpful

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Essential reading

Especially important for anyone working in the public sector from whatever perspective in order to understand how the worst of public policy can happen when those policies are based on a set of prejudicial beliefs that are explicit in action but never publically owned. A lack of ownership for these beliefs prevented the actions needed to rectify innumerable wrongs . A lesson in personal accountability for all of us who work to deliver a public sector agenda

1 person found this helpful

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An impressive account of serious journalism

An excellent example is serious journalism, government incompetence and systemic racism. Humane, impressively well researched, and very well told

1 person found this helpful

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A critically important read

Brilliantly written, very clear and pleasant narration, hugely informative. Heart breaking stories that had to be told and have to be read.

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The admirable advocate.

Such harrowing stories. Told so vividly by the author. I listened in to this over 1 day.

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Brilliant

Brilliant so well written clear thoughtful and passionate look at a very worrying gov dept and policy. Again people get away with this and still in influential positions. Great writer journalist !

1 person found this helpful