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Beyond Nab End [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

William Woodruff , Sam Kelly
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)

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Book Description

30 Aug 2003

The second volume of Woodruff's memoirs starts with him having arrived in Poplar in the early 1930s. On spec he turns up at a steel foundry and luckily gets a job. His digs are with an old couple in Bow where he has to share a single bed (head to toe) with their mentally retarded son.

Life in the foundry is grim but William is indomitable. For recreation one day he cycles (then in the days before inflatable tyres) to Berkhamstead to try and track down an old girlfriend. She's not there and he has to return in a snowstorm - it takes him eight hours to get back to Poplar and then he has to get up three hours later to work at the foundry.

Eventually he decides to 'get some leernin' and his first white collar job starts for the water board in ... Brettenham House! He continues to pursue his studies, finally winning a place at Ruskin College, Oxford. How the ex-steel worker became an Oxford academic - and William's concluding description of returning from the war to meet the son he's never seen - is deeply moving.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product details

  • Audio Cassette
  • Publisher: Chivers Audio Books; Abridged edition (30 Aug 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0754083896
  • ISBN-13: 978-0754083894
  • Product Dimensions: 22.1 x 16 x 3.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,785,767 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

ROAD TO NAB END: 'A masterpiece' INDEPENDENT *A wonderful evocation of a vanished age' MAIL ON S. *'Once started, it is impossible to put this book down ... born writer with an eye for character & a natural way of writing' TLS *'Extraordinarily well written & vividly told, his book is rich in characters, facts, atmosphere & indomitable spirit. It is absolutely fascinating as a social as well as a family history' Eric Hobsbawm, GUARDIAN --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

Book Description

* The sequel to the no.1 bestselling THE ROAD TO NAB END.

* ANGELA'S ASHES without the constant rain.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars History of an uncommon man 20 April 2003
Format:Paperback
I first heard excerpts from this on Radio 4's 'book of the week' and was so captivated I had to read the whole book. I was not disappointed. It's enjoyable, educational, and inspirational, a real delight.
This is history as it should be, from the perspective of those that lived it. I found this book topical in light of events in the Middle East and the legions of armchair generals comparing the folly of appeasement in the late 1930s with the current situation. William Woodruff's account of what was actually happening in Britain at that time makes clear that while the mistakes of history may seem simple in retrospect, at the time things happen for a good reason. The highs and lows of the 'good old days' are bought to life in exciting fashion.
Even for those with no interest in history this book is a wonderful read about a remarkable man who has lived a very full life. There is no superfluous waffle or self-pity, but a joie de vivre that comes across clearly despite the intervening years. A pleasure from beginning to end.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well read 31 Mar 2003
Format:Paperback
The combination of vivid description of the socio-political climate in the years and days leading to the second world war with the evocation of Billie's amazing lust for life is inspiring. I was left feeling that, with enough energy and industry, the world really does open itself up to you.
The description of his time at Oxford perfectly captures the mix of non-stop activity and timeless calm that make it such a magical place.
My grandparents were at the university at the same time as the author and I'm grateful to him for bringing their world to life. If the purpose of history is to help us learn the lessons of the past and apply them to the present, this book is the best piece of history I've read in a long time.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars AN AMAZINGLY POWERFUL READ 20 Jan 2003
Format:Paperback
Having only recently read William Woodruff's 'The Road to Nab End' - and having thoroughly enjoyed it - I was delighted to find the true life tale continuing in 'Beyond Nab End'. As an escapee from Lancashire to London myself, albeit in the 1990s as opposed to the period covered by these two books, I found them resonating with me. Powerful and well-written, to call this book a sequel is to convey a false sense of it being in some way more dilute. In fact, the book covers the period from Woodruff arriving in London's East End through his getting an education in Oxford against the odds and then travelling to war against Hitler and the consequences of that. Sharing Woodruff's life journey through these pages makes for an incredibly moving experience and one I wholeheartedly recommend.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating and informative 4 Mar 2009
By hiljean VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
It is rare for me to enjoy a sequel more than the first book but this was the case with Beyond Nab End. Woodruff brings vividly to life his experiences as a foundry worker amongst the poor working-class of London's East End in the 1930s and of his remarkable self development and subsequent acceptance at Oxford which he comes to love despite his initial feelings of a fish out of water.

Even more interesting to me were his journeys to mainland Europe in the period prior to World War 2 and especially his visit to Germany literally on the eve of the outbreak of war. What he saw there converted him from a pacifist to a soldier who believed that tyranny must be opposed.

This is a fascinating social history document and a thoroughly good read. One of the best autobiographies I have ever read. I am so sad to learn that he died in September 2008 as I was rather hoping there might be a third volume.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beyond nab end. 20 May 2009
Format:Paperback
this is a spell binding story of a rags to riches and a nobody to a some body, life story, a book i found hard to put down and was sorry to finish, the book before it was equally spell binding too ""the road to nab end"" it is an inspiring story to show any one can do and be any thing they set their mind to, 10/10 for the way it is told,
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars follow up to road to nab end 29 Mar 2009
Format:Paperback
If you have read Road to Nab End, maybe you will be like me and want to know more.It didn't disappoint at all. What an interesting life he had.
I was sad to hear he died last year although he was 92. The type of person you would have loved to know or just hear talk
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enthralling 27 Dec 2007
Format:Paperback
What a fantastic read, it encaptures the reader & is divided into bitesize chunks enough to digest at occasional intervals. Woodruff has led an extraordinary life, the first book focuses on his life in Blackburn whereas this story continues the tale down n London & inevitably to Oxford where Woodruff established himself as a scholar. I thoroughly enjoyed this book & Woodruff's style of writing makes the reader feel at ease. It is written as if the author is talking to an old friend. Truly remarkable.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 9 Mar 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I was keen to read this book after reading the first of the pair. However, I found it most compelling and really didn't want to get to the end. William Woodruff writes with great clarity and the ability to involve the reader in every experience he has without over-elaboration or too much tedious detail.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars good
I bought this for my sister in law who is interested in this era. I also bought her the first book in the series
Published 9 months ago by christine wright
5.0 out of 5 stars A trip back in time
A very discriptive and moving account of William Woodrough early life in England during a verry dificult and unstable period.
Published 9 months ago by melmol
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthwhile sequel to The Road to Nab End
Well worth a read - especially for northern folk who have some understanding of living "up north". Woodruff has a keen eye for detail and writes well.
Published 9 months ago by Good living
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant could visualise everything
Could relate to his roots.
Made you want to read more. Have read the sequel
Anyone who appreciates a good book.
Published 9 months ago by Pollyb
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle Book
Enjoyed reading this book whilst I was on holiday. It was very interesting to read about how different people grew up.
Published 12 months ago by Mrs. H. J. Clifford
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
Superbly wrote, I would most definitely recommend. I have recommend the Nab End books to several people. If only there were more books like this.
Published 14 months ago by Gwladys Preston
5.0 out of 5 stars A must read.
Thought The Road to Nab End was very good but this surpassed it. Gives excellent insight into the social history of the time. Read more
Published 16 months ago by J M G Weddle
5.0 out of 5 stars A delight !
At many points this book reads like a novel/thriller rather than the piece of social history that it is. These are two books that once I started reading I did not stop. Read more
Published 17 months ago by phlar
5.0 out of 5 stars Sequel to The Road to Nab End
Hugely rewarding and uplifting sequel to The Road to Nab End. But The Road to Nab End must be read first.
Published 17 months ago by NAM
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
This is excellent quality and excellent value for the money .... ..... ..... .... .... ..... .... .... .... ...
Published 18 months ago by j tune
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