A most impressive book, and beautifully written. Winder traces the story of immigrants into Britain - he deals mainly with England - from pre-Celtic times to the present. As the sources become more plentiful, so the book gathers momentum, and by the time he reaches the time of the Huguenot immigrants in the 17th century, it really begins to sparkle. As he moves from one wave of immigrants to the next, the story - until very recent times - is always the same: initially there is some popular resentment, but, often sooner rather than later, they have been accepted, do well and contribute enormously to the economy and quality of life in these islands. Many people will be aware of the variety of immigrants who have come to Britain; but this is a thorough and systematic account, based on a formidable amount of reading. It could have been a dry catalogue, but the story is captivatingly told: each time Winder explains the circumstances which caused a particular group to arrive, and innumerable stories of individuals are given with great verve and vividness: Huguenots from France; Dutchmen who came with William III; Germans who came with the Hanoverians and who continued to come in the 19th century; black people who originally came as servants and slaves; Italians who left a repressive and over-populated homeland; Irishmen who escaped the famine to work in the factories and on the canals and railways during the Industrial Revolution; Jews who fled from anti-Semitism in Russia and Germany; the Lascars from Asia who manned so many British ships; Greek and Turkish Cypriots who came in large numbers from their war-torn island; men from all over the Empire who had fought for Britain in the First World War; Poles during the Second World War; the Chinese from Hong Kong before the gates were shut to them by the Act of 1997 just before the territory was given up to China; Kenya and Uganda Asians whom Kenyatta and Idi Amin were throwing out. And there were of course the West Indians who came in large numbers during the time when all imperial subjects were given the right of free entry into Britain by the 1948 Nationality Act. That is where the trouble started: the numbers were now such that governments became alarmed, and much of the last third of the book catalogues the desperate but unavailing attempts of governments to stem the flow: from the Commonwealth Immigration Act of 1962 through to the chicaneries, incompetence and bureaucratic insensitivities of what Winder calls "the Asylum madness" from 1996 onwards. Winder leaves it an open question whether the government led or followed public opinion, though he leaves no doubt about the way a hostile public opinion was fanned by the press. It is in any case a disgraceful story, mitigated only by the fact that it was occasionally restrained by impulses of decency, which were also to be found in sections of public opinion. The huge increase in the number of people wanting to come to Britain undoubtedly created genuine problems, but, to give just a few of many examples, few people were aware that the immigrant population was contributing more in tax than it was receiving in benefits; that certain groups like the Indians were producing in proportion more professionals and successful businessmen than did the white population; and that a largely young group of immigrants for whose education Britain had not had to pay would contribute towards supporting the increasing number of pensioners. Winder's indignation about the sour attitudes towards the immigrants - not to mention the many race riots and racially motivated murders - is in no doubt; but he recognizes countervailing sentiments both inside and outside government. The fact remains that Britain remained a magnet for immigration even though the migrants knew what difficulties they would have to face. There are great many shrewd psychological and sociological comments throughout the book, and it ends with a superb and thoughtful chapter of reflections on what a multi-ethnic Britain could and should be like and what indeed in many ways is taking shape already: a Britain in which the question of "ethnic identity" dissolves and the people of Britain can "cohere around a lucid set of individual rights, so that the group to which any man, woman or child belongs is incidental rather than decisive."