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A Good Parcel of English Soil: The Metropolitan Line (Penguin Underground Lines) Kindle Edition
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Top Customer Reviews
These little books are perfect presents for friends who might have connections with any of the lines.
Firstly and most obviously it is a potted history of the Metropolitan Line and the towns that grew up as a result of it being built. These towns form a region known as "Metroland" - a place where imagined dreams were sold and people escaped from London.
If this were the only thing the book looked at it would be interesting enough to recommend, as this was a huge project in commercial social engineering.
But I think that the more interesting part of this book is how it casts a light on much of the author's other writing.
Books such as "The Unofficial Countryside" - which addresses the ill-defined hinterland between urban and rural - and "Nature Cure" - which looks at the beneficial contact between people and a wild places - both have their origins in the experience, and sold dreams, of Metroland.
The turn of phrase and acute observation that I have come to expect form Mabey are all in place. If this book is typical of the others in this series, they will be worthwhile and interesting reading!
I bought this book to help me research the Met for my long term project of a model railway based on the area.
What I got, by the time I had reached the end of the last line (sorry!) was a head full of newly restored interest in social history, philosophy, nature, biology, poetry, Edwardian idealism, science fiction, romance and, of course, the iron dragons.
It is a well worn cliche but there really is something for everyone here. We've all dreamed, hoped, yearned. We all grow up. We all "go home" and realise things about ourselves and each other and the area.
You don't have to be Metrolander to appreciate this. My childhood was spent in the leafy suburbia of a well known English city and I could relate to the expectations, both from others and the self-inflicted but equally anyone who has become an adult, begrudgingly or otherwise can relate and respond to this.
If there is a theme running through this piece, (and I have since learnt through much of Mabey's work) it is that we as a species are not apart from nature but very much a part. For all the aspiration and energy invested in the Metropolitan, the railway ultimately plays second fiddle to the canvas of our lump of rock we call home. There is stuff about the trains, sure, but it is all put into context against the bigger picture. You will never look at tomatoes in quite the same way again.
Sentimental without being gushing/vomit inducing and fact-filled without being overwhelming/brain-aching a lot is packed into its just-shy-of 100 pages.
Perfect for an evening of escapism.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
not up to the standard of others i have read from this fine series. its ok worth a look thoughPublished 20 months ago by martin
A good read looking at the areas alongside the line in terms of flora and fauna as well as the authors world.Published on 27 Dec. 2013 by Charlie
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