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The Shoulders We Stand On

Hardcover / ISBN-13: 9780349702827

Price: £20

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** Eastern Eye‘s Non-Fiction Book of the Year 2023 **

The UK is grappling with big questions about belonging, equality and the legacies of Empire and Colonialism. We’ve been here before. Embracing a broader history that encompasses all British people, The Shoulders We Stand On is fundamental to a better understanding of the past and gives many more people who fought for our future a voice in the present.

‘One of the most important books I’ve ever read . . . this history matters and should never, ever, be forgotten’ Dr Priya Atwal, Royals and Rebels

Have you heard of the Indian Workers’ Association? The Grunwick Strike? The Brixton Black Women’s Group? The Battle of Brick Lane? If the answer is no, you’re not alone. The Shoulders We Stand On tells the stories of ten remarkable movements, campaigns and organisations led by Black and Brown people across Britain from the sixties to the eighties that fought against racism and capitalism and impacted the way we live now.

Researcher and historian Preeti Dhillon wants us to reclaim the history that has been kept from us, and use these vital movements and inspirational moments to better understand the UK we live in today and how change happens.

There is a long and deep history of activism by Black and Brown people spanning the UK. Their stories can inspire all of us to make a difference, just as they did. The Shoulders We Stand On is a book of hope. Hope that together we can make a difference, that together we are powerful, and that we don’t have to tackle society’s challenges alone.

We’re not alone, we’ve been here before and this is the book we all need now.

‘A vital contribution to our culture . . . This is beautiful storytelling’ Mona Arshi, Somebody Loves You

Filled with inspiring narratives, Preeti Dhillon uncovers crucial moments from our history. If you loved the books Natives and Brit(ish), the TV series Small Axe or the film Pride, don’t miss The Shoulders We Stand On.


This is one of the most important books I've ever read . . . A powerful reminder of Britain's pervasive race problems, but more importantly, of the indefatigable courage of this country's Black and Asian communities. Dhillon's storytelling is equal parts witty, heartbreaking and inspiring . . . this history matters and should never, ever, be forgotten.
Dr Priya Atwal, author of Royals and Rebels
Leaves the reader with a renewed sense of gratitude for all those communities who endured and rose to fight for Black and Brown people's rights in post-war Britain. Their fight for equal rights established the groundwork for a more equal future . . .
Rav Singh, founder of A little History of the Sikhs
A vital contribution to our culture . . . This is beautiful storytelling, Dhillon shines a light into our recent histories - this book is alert with ideas as well as facts.
Mona Arshi, author of Somebody Loves You
The book is basically a compendium of gold nuggets for anyone interested in the fight for racial equality in Britain.
Tony Warner, founder of Black History Walks
This book is an eye opener of many histories that have been overlooked and a much needed book to understand the struggles our communities have fought for. I loved every page and will be ensuring that it on my reading lists for communities and educational groups I work with.
Kiran Sahota, Believe in Me CIC
An unapologetic, original voice which keeps you turning the page, Dhillon uncovers underexplored corners of the UK's past to understand the present and make a rallying cry for a better tomorrow.
Lucy Fulford, author of The Exiled
A timely reminder that we had our very own Civil rights struggle right here, in Britain - a prolonged and sometimes bloody campaign . . . part of a long history of anti-racist activism that continues to this day.
Stella Dadzie, author of THE HEART OF THE RACE
This book highlights the powerful role of collective action in changing the course of history. Ranging from Brixton to Bristol. Bradford to Southall, it surveys the forces and figures that forged a tumultuous period of Britain's history - and tells the stories of people who drew on enormous reserves of bravery and determination to forge social change.
History Revealed
A 'must have' for all bookshops, college and university libraries and for local community organisations . . . It comes at a time when the right to protest against forms of state racism is being criminalised, as well as being threatened with removal from statute by the social control agencies of that very state. [The Shoulders We Stand On] is written in an accessible style and language, humorous, when necessary, but always on point.
Winston Trew, author of BLACK FOR A CAUSE
This is a bold and radical book . . . It's superbly written and essential reading for activists, writers, scholars and those who want to understand the defining issues of race and class in the UK.
Sheela Banerjee, author of WHAT'S IN A NAME?