As with Tommy's War [ see my report ] this is a national treasure . Better than any history book the daily recording of an ordinary working man's life . From the end of the Great War up to 1933 we follow the life of the diarist ,Thomas Cairns Livingstone day by day and year by year . We share his excitement on annual holidays , his great concern for the health of his wife , his immense pride in the achievements of his son Tommy and his pleasure in family life .
He wrote purely for his own recreation with no dreams of publication nor intent to impress anyone thus giving us a true picture of life in Scotland and particularly in Glasgow at that time . Here is a remarkable incite : the cost of living , what recreations were enjoyed [ walking and reading mainly ], the advent of radio for all , the influence of cinema , standards of medicine before the NHS , the national and local politics , the responsibility expected in relation to work and family .
Throughout there shines a light of honesty and decency which made me ponder where it all went wrong .
This man of limited formal education can quote from the classics , use foreign phrases and demonstrate an admirable command of the English language . His illustrations are as good as any professional cartoonist's in execution and subtle humour .
For all the detail in these 500 plus pages , this is not a heavy tome . It is fascinating and funny with a chuckle on most pages . I was quickly caught up in Mr. Cairns' life and , cliche or not , I couldn't put it down .
We owe a huge debt of gratitude to Thomas Cairns Livingstone for leaving us this record .