Abysmal weather, slag heaps, funny accents; the bleak uplands of a landscape carved out of millstone grit; townscapes of abandoned mills and shipyards; the detritus of an industrial revolution well past its sell-by date. These, all too often, are the gloomy perceptions of 'the north', the foundations for the belief that northerners spend their lives battling hardship and misery, and that nothing beyond Watford is worth a bag of chips.
With an insider's sensitivity and a journalist's enquiring mind, northerner Martin Wainwright swiftly dispels these and other myths. He reaches back through the historical record to uncover where - and how - many of the old clichés arose, and goes on to paint a picture of the north as it is today and has always been: a setting of wild coastline, lakes, and green dales inhabited by indomitably inventive northeners, proud of their past and forging a future of brilliant new enterprises.
Lavishly illustrated with over 100 stunning images from the Guardian's archives, Wainwright's incisive and wittily observant assessment of a region that is flourishing socially and culturally leaves us in no doubt that true north is as vibrant and exciting as it is beautiful.