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Paul Collier begins this book with a précis of his family history. Prior to the First World War, his grandfather, Karl Hellenschmidt, migrated from an impoverished German village to Bradford, at the time a prosperous city in northern England. Come the war, a “gutter rag” newspaper labelled Hellenschmidt a traitor and a mob ransacked his shop. Hellenschmidt was interned; Paul’s grandmother sank into terminal depression. His father, age 12, left school to run the shop. A quarter century later, the threat of European war reemerged and Paul’s father decided to change his name and his identity and become English.

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