Upon reading Maya Goodfellow’s carefully crafted compilation of shared experiences, my eyes were opened to a new terrain that is so rarely explored in the British news.
It is not afraid to criticise the corrupt and broken system, that so many people previously accepted, in a concise fashion; the book is easily read but a heart-breaking read.
In addition, Hostile Environment cleverly unwraps the history of our immigration system, exploring how ideas surrounding immigration emerged. The historical journey began with Winston Churchill, and traversed the route of immigration policy all the way up to the EU referendum of our generation. In this way, the reader begins to understand how ingrained these opinions are within our society. Even when newspapers document the harrowing scenes of daily life for immigrants entering the country, the public often only feel surface-level remorse. Guilt is quickly overpowered by another news article, largely due to the impersonal nature of the stories – but not so in Hostile Environment. This work beautifully personalises the stories we hear about day in, day out. In reading this book, I read countless personal accounts of human experiences. Statistics are no longer simply figures on a page, but characters, places and stories, and the reader’s eye is opened to the gravity of the situation of immigration here in the UK.
This work beautifully personalises the stories we hear about day in, day out
The timing of the book’s release is also poignant – released mere days after the UK’s supposed departure date from the EU. Brexit marks a seismic shift in our immigration policy and in doing so, granted space for the rise of the far-right. As the book suggests, hateful opinions are so intertwined within our society that impersonal newspaper articles won’t be enough to amend public opinion. However, there is an element of hope for change weaving throughout the book. Hopefully, this book will change opinions, especially of those with the power to make legislative changes.
Last modified: 12th November 2019