Book review: Bloody Foreigners, By Robert Winder


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The Independent Culture

Starting with the Romans, who (like continentals today) relished our shellfish, this lively history of immigration is packed with interest. Medieval Flemish merchants gave us much including diapers (from d'Ypres).

After persecution in France, Huguenots became "a vibrant addition to English life". More recently, "railways, hospitals, shops and cafés would have ceased to function" without migrants.

This cheering book ends by stressing: "national identity needs to rely on something more interesting than racial typology."