Paul Dowswell

Paul Dowswell


Paul Dowswell writes award-winning historical fiction for young adults. He is best known for his Bloomsbury novel Auslander, which won the 2019 Trinity Schools Book Award and the 2011 Hamelin Associazione Culturale Book Prize and been shortlisted for 19 other UK and international book awards since 2009.

His Eleven Eleven won the 2013 Historical Association Young Quills Award and Sektion 20 won the 2012 Historical Association Young Quills Award. His Bloomsbury novels The Cabinet of Curiosities (2011), Red Shadow (2014), Bomber (2016) and his...

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Paul Dowswell

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Aliens: The Chequered History of Britain’s Wartime Refugees by Paul Dowswell

The welcome given to refugees from fascist Europe is part of our fond nostalgia for Britain’s role in the Second World War, nestling in our imagination next to images of evacuees clutching teddy bears, and milkmen picking their way through bomb rubble during the Blitz. But there is a darker side to this story. Then, as now, there was great suspicion, resentment and fear towards new arrivals, much of it kindled by the tabloid press. Then, as now, politicians dealt with a reluctance to accommodate refugees by hiding behind bureaucratic hurdles and obfuscation.

Many of the 10,000 Kindertransport children who arrived here in the late 1930s have warm memories of the kindness they were shown, but half a million refugees were refused entry and most of them died as a result. And those who were accepted found their troubles far from over. While Britain fearfully awaited invasion in 1940, 30,000 Jews were interned as ‘enemy aliens’ and some were sent off to the colonies on dangerous and sometimes fatal voyages. Nor were Jews the only refugees clamouring for the thin gruel of public sympathy. Those fleeing fascism and civil war elsewhere in Europe found that whether they were met with kindness or hostility depended on the locals’ political affiliations and newspapers of choice.

Interweaving personal testimonies with historical sources, Paul Dowswell casts a fresh eye on the wartime era, painting a vivid picture of what life was really like for Britain’s refugees.

    Other Publications

    by Paul Dowswell

      Aliens: The Chequered History of Britain’s Wartime Refugees
      The Great Revolt
      Wolf Children
      Red Shadow
      Eleven Eleven
      Sektion 20
      Cabinet Of Curiosities
      Battle Fleet
      Prison Ship
      Powder Monkey