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The Speech

by Andrew Smith - £8.99  Urbane Publications (2016)
paperback    ISBN 13: 9781911129516 | ISBN 10: 1911129511

His words threatened rivers of blood... and they fought him with hope...
 
On April 20th, 1968 Enoch Powell, Member of Parliament in the English town of Wolverhampton, made a speech that shook Britain to its core. The ramifications of what some labelled a ‘racist diatribe’ changed forever the way in which race was viewed and discussed in the United Kingdom. The Speech: a novel follows the lives of a group of characters — including Powell himself — living in Wolverhampton over a ten-day period before and after his speech.
 
Mrs. Georgina Verington-Delaunay is a volunteer working in the Conservative riding office of Enoch Powell. It is through her interaction with Powell, now at a critical point in his political career, that we get to know him intimately. Frank and Christine are art students inadvertently caught in an undercurrent of intolerance. Nelson and his aunt, Irene, are Jamaican immigrants striving to make a life for themselves in an atmosphere of turbulent emotions and polarised opinions concerning Britain’s immigration policies.
 
A violent crime brings these disparate characters together as they struggle to find their places in the swiftly changing society of 1960s Britain. Set against a background of ‘subversive’ music, radical fashions, and profound change in ‘moral values,’ they attempt against all odds to bring a fair conclusion to an unjust investigation. As they work together against murky elements of self-interest and bigotry, they’re forced to confront their own consciences and prejudices.

(Price & availability last checked: February 2017)

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In booklists: Writers by Surname - S, Historical Fiction, Fiction and Poetry - Anti-Racism,
In categories: Fiction, History & Biography, Anti-Racism, Poetry & Writing,

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