Here to Stay: The Gypsies and Travellers of Britain

Author(s) Colin Clark, Margaret Greenfields
Publisher University of Hertfordshire Press
Published 2006
Pages 404
Price £14.99
ISBN 9781902806334
Reviewed by Mrs Sandra Shaffi
Stockport College
Review published 9 October 2008

On picking up this book, my overall first impression was that the front cover appeared dated and showed what I consider to be a stereotypical image of gypsy families.

Once I begun to read this book it became clear that it attempts to challenge the image portrayed of gypsies by providing information about their background, values and beliefs. The experiences and problems faced by travelling families in today’s society give a true insight into their inclusion in a multicultural society.

Interesting descriptions are provided of the diverse mix of ethnic groups within travelling families showing a variety of values, beliefs and origins.

Chapters in the book focus on specific areas, such as Social Issues, Education, Health and Legislation. The chapters are useful for focused research, but they need to be taken as a whole to give a true representation of life as a gypsy or traveller.

Legislation is considered in detail and gives useful information on the rights of gypsy families and the progress that has been made, culminating in the recognition of travellers as an ethnic minority. Throughout the book pictures depict the lives of gypsies and encourage the comparison of the romantacised notion of travellers in tented wagons and troubled, often persecuted lives they may now lead. These continue to remind us of problems still in existence.

The only ‘down side’ of the book is the constant references to notes in the back of the book. These are extensive and constantly referring to them interrupts the flow of the text.

In conclusion, this book will be helpful for both teachers and students who are interested in social policy, education, inclusion, health and legislation; it provides a broad picture of the lives of travellers, but is specific enough in individual chapters to focus on specialized issues.