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True North: In praise of England's better half [Paperback]

Martin Wainwright
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

3 Jun 2010

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.

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Frequently Bought Together

True North: In praise of England's better half + The North: (And Almost Everything In It) + Pies and Prejudice: In search of the North
Price For All Three: 26.31

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Guardian Books (3 Jun 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0852652135
  • ISBN-13: 978-0852652138
  • Product Dimensions: 19.4 x 12.8 x 2.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 17,352 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


He offers an affectionate trip through the region that is more thematic than geographical ...Wainwright's amiable and illuminating anecdotes are supported by a superb selection of photographs from the only national newspaper that began life outside the capital ... any book that references Saint Hilda and Les Dawson in the same chapter is clearly worth a look (Daily Mail)

True North is his love letter to 'England's Better Half', a gently paced modern history taking in culture, nature and cottage industries. He doesn't ignore stereotypes so much as moderate them with wit and unlikely facts ... Northerners will revel in all the local colour, while southerners will continue to wonder what all the fuss is about (Metro)

Calling on a mix of memoir and history, the author looks at the old North, and the new revitalised North of today. In exploring how and why the region has changed, he writes compellingly in praise of people and places. It's a fascinating read (Book Of The Month Choice Magazine)

Exhilarating (Saga)

Book Description

A journey through the beautiful, lively, diverse place that is the North of England

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining survey 13 Nov 2010
Martin Wainwright is a very good writer, and in this amusing and sometimes very perceptive book he provides an eclectic but always engaging account of some of the facts and fictions relating to "The North". There are some fascinating illustrations, some deft and insightful observations and many playful and pleasing arguments about views from inside and out. I enjoyed it greatly.
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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars sitha lad, thart a reet blether skite 26 Feb 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
If anyone wants to read about the True North DO NOT READ this book. Even the flyleaf gives a totally inaccurate synopsis of the contents:a picture of the north as it is today. This was what I expected but what I got was a dark, gloomy history of the area between Leeds and Manchester with only the odd glimpse of anywhere else in the North of England. As for the "setting of wild coastlines, lakes and green dales" etc just a few passing words."..brilliant new enterprises" again receive just a few passing words.Great Ayton is "over" the Tees-floating or north? In actual fact it is about 8 miles south of the Tees. How many other errors are there?
Steeped in a grim political history of just a minute part of what is the North of England, lots of references to unheard of people in the Leeds to Manchester corridor and lots of name dropping-who I lunched/dined with; who I met at school prize givings etc. Ever heard of: "See all, hear all, say nowt?"

Move back to the South of England and never say another word about the North.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good book, good supporting blog 26 Aug 2010
An interesting page-turner with fascinating facts and persuasive arguments. It's impressionistic and personal - and no worse for that. It's about the North of England in the general consciousness not the North in geography. Held together by a positive message that the North is usually just fine and sometimes marvellous. 'True North' busts the myth that It's Grim Up North.

The supporting blog shows one way forward for non-fiction publishing. The blog paired with the book allows the bibliography, errata, reader comments and additional content to be put online.
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