Stolen History by Sathnam Sanghera
|Stolen History by Sathnam Sanghera|
|Category: Children's Non-Fiction|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: A superb introduction for the preteen to the British Empire and how we should approach its history in the 21st century. Highly recommended.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 208||Date: June 2023|
|External links: Author's website|
I was the bad company other people got into at school. I was disruptive in religious education classes because I disputed the existence of a 'god'. Where was the proof? In history lessons, it was probably worse still. Not too long after the end of WWII, I didn't so much want to learn about the British army's successes (and occasional failures, but we didn't dwell on those) in what came to be called 'the colonies' as want to dispute what right the army had to be there in the first place. Looking back, I still believe I was right - but I regret that I lacked the maturity to approach 'the problem' politely. I wish I'd had Sathnam Sanghera's Stolen History.
Sanghera talks us through the concepts of 'empire' and 'colonialism', using analogies which make the ideas clear to the young reader. I even felt clearer about exceptionalism and jingoism. Empire is a major part of Britain's history and there are a lot of lingering problems which need to be addressed. How do we deal with the possibility of reparations where we were involved in the slave trade? What about prominent statues of people whom we no longer feel it appropriate to revere?
We're not given prescriptive solutions: your child is not going to be in the back of a police van after having defaced a statue - well, certainly not as a result of reading this book. The watchword is 'politeness'. There are excellent suggestions made as to how discussions can be opened, say in museums and stately homes - or even in the classroom.
Stolen History isn't just about dealing with conflicting thoughts on empire and colonialism. There are excellent sections which show how much the empire has changed the way that we live in the United Kingdom, from words, through food and even as far as the buildings we live in.
I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy of this excellent book to the Bookbag.
For MG fiction about slavery, we can recommend Slave Girl by Jackie French.
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