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133 Reviews
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, if undemanding fun.
The notion of what defines the north, either physically or spiritually is one that has been endlessly debated for many years. It would be somewhat optimistic to expect Maconie's book to answer the question definitively, which is a good job because it doesn't. But, by his own admission he doesn't really try to.

Instead, what we have is this: a neat, funny...
Published on 23 Aug 2007 by ds

versus
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Can be funny in parts but also long winded.
This was a book selected by our book group. I finished it and did enjoy most of it but parts of the book bored me and I was longing to move on. How long can you stay in Wigan?

There were some interesting sections which were informative but I did not look forward to getting home to read my book.

It was all very average.
Published on 5 Feb 2010 by V. Moderate


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6 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Half-hearted research, a dislike of the South and a few nice stories, 4 Feb 2008
By 
I. Cook "IC" (Manchester (previously of Portsmouth)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North (Paperback)
Right, I have just finished the book. I enjoyed parts of it. But there were two elements that annoyed me. First, it didn't seem like he actually bothered to visit some of these places and if he did it was an afternoon here, a morning there. Nice stories about places but they can be easily copied from 'A History of ________'. Second, it seems more like a book about why he doesn't like the South rather than an ode to the North. His constant and bitter moaning about (a) why the South is over-rated and (b) how Southerners are disparaging to Northerns really does grate after a while.
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7 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars At least the title is not misleading, 4 Jan 2011
By 
G. Myers "A modest genius & all round good bl... (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
The title "Pies and Prejudice" tells you all you need to know about this, dreary, heavy going tome.

If like me you read the Amazon "Product Description" and think you are actually going to get and I quote....

"Book Description - A hilarious journey in search of the real North, northerners and northernness" you will be sadly disappointed!

This is in fact a book about "Pies" and Mr Maconie's own "Prejudices"

The mainstay of these being his affirmation that anyone not born "Up North" will have a pretentious stupid name probably live in Islington, and have an intellect slightly lower than one of the pies so beloved by the inhabitants of Wigan but it is his unshakable belief that the conservative party under the leadership of Mrs Thatcher, was little more than a division of the Waffen SS operating on British soil with the sole aim of destroying all things northern, that exposes Maconie's prejudiced view of the world for the ridiculous farce it is!

However one good thing has come from this, I have learned NEVER to trust Amazon's Book Descriptions again. They are clearly submitted by the books publishers NOT by any independent reviewer.

This book has been a total waste of my hard earned money, If you want a "hilarious journey" type read, buy a Bill Bryson he does it much better and without the self professed "working class hero" vitriol.
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10 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Didn't finish it..., 13 May 2008
By 
J. Shaw "Julz" (Hartlepool) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have been accused of "laughing at anything" and enjoy many different forms of comedy, but this book didn't even raise a slight titter. Oh, by the way, I come from the North East and there are plenty of crap chip shops up here too. Overall though I couldn't finish the book as I was irritated by his pompous, vague and shallow outlook on life in both the North and South of England. I personally think it is hard to differentiate between the 'North' and 'South' nowadays as people move around so much; hence the old fashioned stereotypes are few and far between.
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6 of 14 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Mediocre TV and Radio Star Writes Mediocre Book, 26 Dec 2007
By 
Cornisle "cornisle" (newcastle upon tyne) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North (Paperback)
It starts off ok but he just can't get his facts right. The whole thing feels like he hasn't actually visited all the places listed but just done a few internet searches. And did anybody proof read this book? There is no character in Viz called "Big Vern Cockney Wan...", it's two seperate characters! This implies he isn't quite as au fait with Viz as he likes to pretend. The other glaring error is when talking about Liverpool's Champions League final win against Inter Milan - it was AC Milan!!!! Very bad form indeed.
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it, 8 July 2009
I really enjoyed this booked, it is a light read but has a bit of substance, he has broad interests so you often learn things. I paased it on to my 76 year old Dad who really enjoyed, it even though, he didn't understand all the fuss about Joy Davidson, he wasn't much wiser when we told him it was astually Joy Devision (but we were!)
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10 of 23 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Maybe I didn't find this funny because I'm not from Lancaster?, 8 May 2008
By 
G. Keogh (London) - See all my reviews
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I have to disagree with almost every other reviewer: this book wasn't funny. It had none of the wit of Bill Bryson, to whom the author was compared, or Peter Kay, whose quotation was featured on the cover. It just rambled on and on about how the author didn't really know much about the South except that it's definitely not as good as the North and the chips are crap. If he only knows London and one part of Essex (I think it was Essex, might have been Sussex) that he stayed in with an ex, how on earth is he supposed to write a book about the North/South divide? From peeking at these reviews it seems he only knows a few places in the North well.

I always judge these books on whether, when reading about the places I've been to, I can relate to the clichés mentioned and laugh. I didn't laugh once at this book - oh, except where he said Northerners come from hard and dangerous places and Southerners think it's "edgy" to live in Hackney, displaying a lack of knowledge of London and indeed the definition of the word edgy - and having lived in London all my life I was sorely disappointed at his watery, vague description of the place. It didn't make fun of the strange things Londoners do or talk about the clichés centred on us. It was just vague whining about the Tube not being as good as Norther rail lines.

Northerners and Southerners alike should use this book as toilet roll in my opinion.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Too much waffle, 28 Jan 2014
By 
Note: I am not from the south of England. I have family in the north. I love to travel. Some others seem to think if they rate this book lowly, then they MUST be from the south of England. That's just idiotic logic. I love places in all areas of the United Kingdom/Britain. I LOVE travel in general. I don't like or understand why some people have issues with north or south; I don't get it and I don't care to understand it because it is petty. I simply did not like this book at all. In fact, it was one of the worst I've read in a long time.

I struggled to finish it and skim-read parts of it that were about places I've never been before but read in full about places I was familiar with, and the dialog just did not make me laugh at all. I just did not like the style of writing; the author 'waffled' on and on and I could care less about most of it. Really disappointing book. I shall not read more for this author and struggle to know who the audience of the book is. I've been to some of the places mentioned and I love to travel, but this book was just too much 'fluff' and 'waffle'.
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6 of 15 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Southern slasher!, 20 April 2008
By 
J. Phipps (UK (SOUTH)) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This is a good indicator of the state of the North of England today from someone who obviously loves the fact that he was born a northerner. It's worth a read, but in his quest 'in search of the north' he comes across as very anti-south and anti-southerner, despite the fact that he lives in the West Midlands (which isn't the North of England) and earns his living mostly in London!
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14 of 34 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Prejudice and Prejudice, 16 Jan 2008
By 
Christian Gould (London) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North (Paperback)
I'm a Londoner, let's get that out of the way. I'm engaged to an amazing Lancashire girl and have spent a great deal of time in the North and with it's peoples. I purchased this book expecting and hoping to read a witty and well thought out view of perhaps some of the nuances and reasons for those nuances (or not) between Southerners and Northerners. Let's face it, there clearly are some differences. Instead, what I was incensed to discover was that this narrow minded bore is only intent on generalising and slighting all things South of the Midlands and time and time again, criticising anything and everything that is London. I'm seriously confused as to how this little man walks straight with such an enormous chip on his shoulder.

Please, let us not burden you any longer sir, the Norf is calling you back.
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24 of 58 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Pies and Prejudice- Stuart Maconie, 16 Aug 2007
By 
Young Goblin (Bradford, Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North (Paperback)
If there's one thing I can't stand its the tendency of some middle class northerners living/who have lived in the south-east coming on the prole....such as media types like Stuart Maconie.
Parts of this book (the travelogue/factual bits) are mildly interesting but when he tries to make any point about how salt of the earth the north is compared to the south it loses all credibility. Just the blurb on the back about him and his London media cronies talking about poncey foods I've never even heard of yet alone tried is enough to make you feel sick. I was born and bred in the south east and managed to go nearly 30 years without mixing with anyone who conformed to this stereotype of the south-east.These middle clas trendies are just as likely to originate anywhere else in Britain (including the north) and move to London with there work as to actually come from the area. And that's the problem with books like this they always pick such firmly middle class people to represent the south east when although theres probably more of those types around London than anywhere else theres also an equal amount of people who wouldnt know a kiwi fruit if it hit them in the face.
It all boils down to the majority of northern people who move to the south tending to be mobile professional types who will naturally mix in middle class circles when they get there. They then rather disengenously confuse their own social circles with the south-eastern population as a whole when they start spouting rubbish like this book.
Similarly when he's on about the north he's determined to contend an image of the north that no intelligent person has really believed for about 30 or 40 years.As someone said this book idea of the north would have been slightly more rooted in reality if it had been published in about 1968.
As someone who has now spent a large part of their life living in the north its obvious that among the vast majority of people (working/lower middle class) theres absolutely no difference between a person whether from the north or south. Which in my eyes destroys the whole flimsy premise this book is built on.
Having said all that it's a pity he couldn't have just kept to the straight travelwriting as if he had i think there's a decent and entertaining book lurking in there...oh and if he'd also rectified the problem of giving a more and more cursory glance to a town/district the further it was from south Lancashire. I mean a lot of Yorkshire gets a raw deal but by the time he reaches the north-east he migh as well have not bothered.
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Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North
Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North by Stuart Maconie (Paperback - 1 Feb 2007)
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