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  • Published: 15 May 2008
  • ISBN: 9780099506171
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $29.99

The Hounding of David Oluwale



An extraordinary ‘micro-history’ which exposes the beginnings of institutionalised police racism in Britain.

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.

  • Published: 15 May 2008
  • ISBN: 9780099506171
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 272
  • RRP: $29.99

About the author

Kester Aspden

Kester Aspden was born in Toronto in 1968, and raised in Todmorden, West Yorkshire, and York. He has a doctorate in history from Cambridge University, and taught history of crime at Leeds University whilst researching this book. He now lives in Istanbul.

Praise for The Hounding of David Oluwale

Kester Aspden's brave book finally puts the life and death of David Oluwale where it always should have been: centre-stage in the criminal, political and social history of postwar England

David Peace

This is a shocking and engrossing story... A true story with all the material of a novel, the book is a kind of In Cold Blood set in Leeds

Jonathan Sale, Financial Times

Aspden's painstaking research, empathetic approach and ability to weave together a vivid wider social critique show Oluwale was done a terrible disservice... This tenderly compiled book will still make you weep

Metro

Aspden writes compassionately of his character, weaving information into a gripping narrative and attempting, with a novelist's skill, to give a heartbeat to the dry statistics on his life

Independent

Aspden's meticulous work does justice to a largely forgotten case

New Statesman

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