Akala Recommends His Top 5 Reads of 2019
Rapper, author, poet, activist; Akala is a man of many talents and with Natives, his searing polemic on racial identity in Britain and the blighted legacy of empire, he provided one of the breakout papberbacks of the year. Below, he shares the books that have inspired and entertained him in 2019.
Not only a necessary but a meticulously researched account of how anti-colonial resistance to the British Empire shaped the ideas and actions of British intellectuals, politicians, activists and ultimately the public at large and the course of the nation’s history. You’ll never look at British history the same way once you’ve read it.
As scholarly as you could hope for a book to be, yet not bogged down by its academic weight, nor by dry prose. This highly readable history of the rise of the East India company shows us what we all already knew, that beneath all of that nonsense about civilizing the natives was one thing, well two things, well maybe three; greed, loot and violence. But it is also the fascinating story of arguably the world’s first mega-corporation, the largest public bailout until the other day and a million nuggets of detail, with a brilliant cast of characters.
I’ve long been a fan of Walvin’s work and this book picks up on and brings together many threads that he has written on brilliantly elsewhere. The central argument is simple enough; enslaved people played a central role in the abolition of slavery. For anybody looking for a one volume overview of why that is obviously and undeniably true, as well as a great story of the about the strength of the human spirit in the face of unimaginable odds, this is your book.
What can I say, who is not a Game of Thrones fan? (We’ll all just act like season 8 didn’t happen) Here Martin just keeps giving with a history of Westeros 300 years before the era in which game of thrones is set. The fact that it reads like a history book but with the added flair of a master novelist makes it all the better and more convincing.
Absolutely beautiful, expands the universe of the classic film but could easily stand alone as a great book of short stories, of fantasy or myth. Dark, creepy, twisted and poetic. I loved it.
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