Exotic England

 Exotic England Cover England may be a small country on a small island, but its inhabitants have always had a boundless curiosity about the world beyond their shoreline. From the nation’s modern origins in the Renaissance, travellers have eagerly roamed the globe and been enticed by the diversity and richness of other civilizations. And while this appetite for adventure has often been tainted by aggression or exploitation, the English have also carried within them a capacity to soak up new experiences and ideas and to weave them into every aspect of life back home, from language and literature to customs and culture. Here we trace this golden thread of otherness through five centuries of English history to reveal how it has shaped the buildings, flavoured the food, powered the economy, and created a truly diverse society.Today, when England is no longer synonymous with Britain and the English ask themselves who they are, Yasmin Alibhai-Brown paints a sumptuous and illuminating portrait of who they have been and brings a fresh, invigorating perspective on what ‘Englishness’ really means.

Refusing the Veil

  This topic divides people – and it will divide readers of this book too. Many Muslims worldwide either support or adopt religious veiling, and those who argue against it are often criticised, or worse. But, according to Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, the veil throws up a number of concerns, from questions of health and freedom of choice to issues of gender and personal identity. She argues that veiling conceals abuse, propagates eating disorders and restricts access to sunlight and exercise. It is imposed on babies and young girls, allows women to be shamed for not covering up, and has become associated with extremist factions. It demonises men, oppresses feminism and presents obstacles to performance and success. It even encourages racism, distorts Muslim values and strips women of autonomy and individuality. Written from a unique perspective and packed with personal experiences as well as public examples, Yasmin addresses the ultimate question of why Muslim women everywhere should refuse the veil.

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