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Natives

Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire
By: Akala
Narrated by: Akala
Length: 10 hrs and 5 mins
Categories: Non-fiction, Politics
5 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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Publisher's 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 members say
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An Outstanding Wake-up Call

This book should be required reading for anyone living in the “west”. Akala brilliantly traces the threads of race and class in British and broader society, and shows how they underpin our modern institutions. Interweaving personal narrative and political analysis, this was a joy to listen to and would make edifying reading for both young black activists and old white uncles. Do yourself a favour and listen.

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Great

Great book, very interesting look at race and class, great use of perspective. As a (ambigously) white Australian, this book really opened my eyes to how race and class affect broader international dynamics.

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beautiful

I'm Australian. This book intellectually triangulated between the legacies of the British empire, social disempowerment of youth and the affects we witness today on our own people. Also some amazing insight into Jamaican culture and history which I never knew about. Thank you Akala!

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Amazing book.

Great audiobook

Well read and great info throughout.

wish white people will read/listen to this

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Brilliant

I can't recommend this highly enough. Perfectly blends autobiography and history. A very enlightening and captivating look into race, class, and ideologies of white supremacy.

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I enjoyed the extraness of the spoken word.

I decided for audiobook over paperback, which is my jam because the author narrates the text. I'm so glad I did. I listened straight through over two days, and it was entertaining because it was like an extended Akala lecture. I recommend this audiobook to those who normally read because it is an engaging audio experience with the author.

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A must read

Never have I found myself agreeing more with author, for me incredibly relatable, relevant and insightful

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A great overview of the roots of class and race.

Akala is very well read on this subject and does a great job of giving a historically grounded as well personal account of the roots of white supremacy. He gives the larger picture with the historical parts and zooms in on the personal day to day ramifications with personal stories that show how even with all the attributes expected to excel in our supposedly meritocratic world race and class issues show otherwise.

Must read, very well narrated.

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Akala is incredible!

I absolutely loved this. So informative, I'll definitely need to listen again for a more in depth understanding. The world needs more books like this, and more people like Akala

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This book is for everyone

A first hand account, history and in-depth analysis of institutionalised racism and how to understand it. Akala stands up against racism in a refreshingly relatable and intellectual way.

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  • Lamont D
  • 19-09-2018

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.

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  • channah
  • 24-06-2020

Outstanding

Very approachable and engaging survey of the topic even for a relative beginner such as myself, grounded in no small part by Akala's choice to share some of his personal history and experiences. I'll admit I was initially disappointed when I couldn't find this title in hard copy or Kindle edition <shakes head at US publishers>, but quickly realized it is a gift to hear his words in his own voice. Thanks, Audible!

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  • Stephanie
  • 23-06-2020

Thought-provoking and well researched!

Akala has done an incredible job laying out plainly and clearly the history of some ideas resonant throughout our Western lives. From his personal anecdotes to the vast research employed to create this manuscript, it is a journey with many points of reflection. This is a compelling invitation to navigate one's own ideas of and relationship to state, education, history, and whiteness and offers so much more than that.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 24-05-2020

Absolutely brilliant

This book opened my eyes to the untold stories of the other side to black history in the U.K. I lived in London and taught in London school and never once heard these things mentioned in my 10 years of working in a very diverse school in NW10.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 22-05-2020

All people should read this book!!!

The book is excellent! Akala is genius! I can't wait for his next MASTERPIECE.

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  • Daniel
  • 19-02-2020

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!

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  • nonscelus
  • 19-12-2019

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.

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 16-12-2019

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!

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  • Laura Moriarty
  • 07-11-2019

Excellent Read

I can’t say enough good things about this book. Written from both a personal and social perspective, it was thought provoking and emotional.

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  • damali1216
  • 29-10-2019

Wow, just wow!

Hands down my favorite book ever read on this subject. Akala, the author, has the ability to speak on easily the most emotionally charged topic in such a balanced and eloquent manner. I look forward to discovering more of the work he has and will produce.

As an American born female of Jamaican parentage, I related to ALL of the experiences shared on varying levels.

Damali

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  • Ross Clark
  • 10-07-2018

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.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 31-12-2018

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.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Jahfoolie
  • 22-05-2018

Outstanding work by Akala.

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

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  • M
  • 23-07-2019

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.

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  • Mr J Arthur
  • 17-01-2019

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.

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  • Dale
  • 09-12-2019

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.

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  • June
  • 30-01-2019

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.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Zahra Hussain
  • 29-01-2019

outstanding

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

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-01-2019

thoroughly engaging review of race and class.

Akala continues to show why he is one of the greatest minds in the UK.

7 people found this helpful

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  • Adam_Sidz
  • 20-06-2018

Eye Opening

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

7 people found this helpful