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Black By Design: A 2-Tone Memoir Paperback – June 12, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Serpent's Tail (June 12, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 184668790X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1846687907
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.3 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #387,646 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Gritty, witty and compelling Elle Black paints a vivid portrait of simmering racial tension in Britain after the Second World War ... Intelligent and affecting Independent Stories aplenty ... fascinating Metro The story of a brave, intelligent woman's struggle to make sense of the world around her Mojo --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Pauline Black is a singer and actress who gained fame as the lead singer of seminal 2-tone band The Selecter. The band has recently reformed and in September 2011 releases a new album, 'Made in Britain'.

Customer Reviews

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Holly F. Homan on July 18, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Pauline Black's autobiography is very intelligent and sensitively written. Ms. Black, who was and still is the lead singer for the UK ska revival band the Selecter, writes about being half black but adopted by a working class white family in heavily casted England in the fifties and sixties. Ms. Black writes about the abject racism that existed (and still does to a large degree) not only in Britain, but when she visited the US while on tour with The Selecter. She writes about the relationships between her and other band members as well as portraying very honestly the seedier side of being in a rock band and all that entails.

At all times the book is very engrossing book and had me hooked from the very beginning. She not only writes about her experiences of being the only person with black skin living in an all-white community, and her experience of being a singer in a rock/reggae band, but also of how she tracked down her birth parents and learned her true identity. At no time does this book get boring. Instead the book is a very honest depiction of race relations and personal relations without being gossipy or judgmental. An excellent read and I highly recommend it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Peter Summers on September 22, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a thoroughly readable and engaging book right from the start - Pauline Black can write.. She is by turns reflective, honest, musical, funny, brutal and sad. What a life: black girl adopted by white parents in the late 1950's, by luck falls into the emerging Two-Tone Ska scene with The Selector, finds fame of varying degrees, and eventually tracks down her birth parents. I like Pauline as a person.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Robin Webster on October 26, 2012
Format: Paperback
This book was a must read for me. The reason being I read an interview with Pauline Black in a national newspaper where she was talking about her experiences of being transracially adopted. I was amazed to find that her experiences mirrored my own. Like me, Pauline Black was adopted as a baby in the UK in the early 1950's then brought up in a white area with no other black or mixed race families in sight. The similarities did not end there. As I did, she traced her natural mother (who was white) to Australia, and managed to trace her black father but alas he was dead before she got a chance to meet him. Because of this, I found the parts of the book dealing with transracial adoption in the 1950's, moving, honest and insightful. There was no blueprint for transracial adoption then and Pauline Black manages to detail her journey in a balanced and clear way of how she forged her identity as a mixed-race person. She was not only able to outline the difference in perspective between the growing transracially adopted child and the rest of its family in the 1950's but also the positives. Like Pauline Black I was loved by my family and have met people who were brought up in care homes in the 1950's and the damage that can be caused being raised in that environment can be irreparable. I also share her view that things are better today with regard to transracial adoption but mistakes are still made in the UK, particularly in rural areas.
I have to say that I was 30 years old when the 2-Tone groups came onto the scene in 1980 with their own brand of fast paced Ska. Like all the 2-Tone bands Pauline Black's band `The Selector' was embraced by a large section of British youth at that time. Because of my age I did not really connect with the energy of the music.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By CampbellX on August 14, 2011
Format: Paperback
Black by Desifgn is roller coaster journey of emotions and insider stories and pictures of the forming of The Selector ska band. Pauline Black does not flinch from going into the gory details of meeting famous people and the story of her life. Black by Design is a historical document of life lived in Thatcherite Britain at the cutting edge of culture.
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