When the body of David Oluwale, a rough sleeper with a criminal record and a history of mental illness, was pulled out of the River Aire near Leeds in May 1969, nobody asked too many questions about the circumstances of his death. A police charge sheet from three months before had 'UK' scored out, and his nationality replaced with a handwritten 'WOG'. This 'social nuisance' went unmourned to a pauper's grave. A year and a half later, rumours that the Nigerian man had been subject to a lengthy campaign of abuse from two police officers led to the opening of the grave and a difficult criminal investigation. Drawing on original archival material only just released into the public domain, and interviews with police officers and lawyers involved in the eventual prosecution of two Leeds City Police officers, Kester Aspden's chilling book revisits one of the most notorious racist crimes in British history. David Oluwale came to Britain as a stowaway in 1949. He also came as a British subject and citizen with a belief that 'the Mother Country' was a place of fairness and liberty and law. Nationality: Wog is not just the forensic examination of a crime; in his imaginative reconstruction of the life and death of this obscure man Kester Aspden exposes Britain's belligerent and painful response to the fact that black people were part of the national story. It raises questions as relevant today as they were at the end of the 1960s.
`...painstaking research, empathetic approach and ability to weave together
a vivid...social critique...This tenderly compiled book will still make you
weep' -- The Metro
"Aspden writes compassionately of his character, weaving
information into a gripping narrative...with a novelist's skill"
-- David Dabydeen, Independent, 22 June 2007
'Aspden's meticulous work does justice to a largely forgotten case.'
-- New Statesman
'Kester Aspden's brilliant book is extremely comprehensive,
involving painstaking research. It deserves to be studied.'
-- Harmit Athwal, Institute of Race Relations
'Nationality: Wog tells the harsh reality of a period which is
often looked back on with nostalgia'
-- The Herald, 29 May 2007
'This excellent and detailed book... Makes the reader confront
difficult questions about racism, policing and the care of the mentally
ill, questions that are still with us today.' -- The Tablet
'This is a shocking and engrossing story...the book is a kind of
In Cold Blood set in Leeds.'
-- Financial Times
A brilliant, fascinating book which revives the memory of David
Oluwale and tells his story as it should be told.
-- Denise Mina
A fascinating, well-researched and chilling narrative
-- Professor David Wall, University of Leeds
`The new David Peace, we're saying.'
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