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46 Reviews
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written, compassionate, entertaining and magnificent.
I've been a fan of Stuart Maconie for some time and have thoroughly enjoyed all his books, particularly 'Pies and Prejudice'. I wasn't actually sure he would ever better that effort but with 'Hope and Glory' he has at least matched it and possibly gone on a step further. 'As funny as Bryson and as wise as Orwell' is the Observer's verdict and for once this is no...
Published on 14 Sep 2011 by Marnie Crowder

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable in parts
I have enjoyed Stuart Maconie's other books and his work on the radio. This, however, is a bit of a mixed bag. It reads as though the book was written and published in a rush.

Maconie sets up each chapter with a quote about a particular year. He soon wanders a long way from this quote - usually but not always - telling the reader of his travels. His travels are...
Published 17 months ago by P. Burnard


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4.0 out of 5 stars Lovely!, 19 July 2011
By 
Shoe addict (Braddan, Isle of Man Great Britain) - See all my reviews
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Thsi is the third Stuart Maconie book I have read - the first being Pies and Prejudice which I thought was one of the best books I have ever read, and turning quickly after finishing that, to Adventures on the High Teas which was good, but not as relevant to me as Pies which deals with places with which I am much familiar. Hope and Glory follows the same format as the other two with Stuart's usually adroit insights and generally hilarious commentary. The only reason I docked it a star is that I felt the chapters were a little long - a similar criticsm I'd level at High Teas: each chapter contained enough variety of topics to break it into smaller sections and if reading in a confined time or before bed, it was sometimes annoying to have to stop mid-chapter. Thoroughly enjoyable read though, like everything SM does.
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5.0 out of 5 stars ... with mine so it was inevitable that I would enjoy reading it, 7 Sep 2014
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Ms. Joan Jackson "book addict" (Telford, Shropshire) - See all my reviews
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Ascerbic and angry as ever - his views coincide exactly with mine so it was inevitable that I would enjoy reading it. I discovered this writer after stealing a friend's copy of Pies and Prejudice. I enjoyed it so much I actually returned it and apologised.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Bill Bryson - I'm not sure, 24 July 2011
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I have to say at the outset, that by and large I am a Maconie fan. Where I feel somewhat cheated is
by the blurb on the front cover - `As funny as Bryson and as wise as Orwell'. This was always going
to be a hard claim to live up to. Maconie is without doubt, an intellligent writer and an astute observer.
This has served him well in previous works, but here the rhetoric became obvious, and his political leanings
a little too transparent to make for light reading or balanced opinion. At times I felt as though I was
trudging through the socialist worker or something similar.

On the positive side, it's obviously well researched and certainly informative. If you are looking
for the sort of sharp one-liners that can convulse you without warning, then Bryson apart, I would
stick with Michael Simkin's - Detour de France or John Brown's - North of Watford Gap.

All in all, an interesting read, but make the next one a little lighter Stuart !
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Toasted Tea Cakes and Prejudices, 14 July 2011
After Stuart Maconie's concern in one of the later chapters about Prince Charles's book on architecture only getting two reviews on Amazon, it's good to be able to boost his own review numbers and with a positive one, too. I share a lot of Stuart's demographic details (a Lancastrian of a certain age who is now in exile elsewhere) so I've always enjoyed his books, and found lots in what he says that chimes with my own views, and that's no different in Hope & Glory. The concept is a "good un" - taking a date from each decade of the twentieth century to illustrate a defining aspect of Modern Britain, but really he could have picked anything as a framework for his now trade-mark rambling round England with a wry-eye, an open-ish mind and a lot of social optimism. He takes us on urban trails and mountain paths from Basildon to Snowdonia, but his real 'trig points' are the kiosks and cafes where he can order his standing dishes of toasted tea-cake ("you can take the northerner out of . . . etc") and caramel lattes (. . . . maybe not . . . ) and reflect on the characters and stories that he's rubbing up against in that particular location. So the equation is simple - if you already like Stuart Maconie, then you'll love this, but if you don't, and if you don't share his preconceptions and prejudices, then this isn't going to win you over to him, because it does have a harder, more personal edge to it that his earlier works. The challenge for Stuart is where he goes next (geographically) with his writing, as he's just about 'done' Britain (or rather England).
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18 of 27 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars English 'Bill Bryson' shows his claws, 1 July 2011
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Previous books by Stuart Maconie have mixed his particular brand of Northern whimsy with elements of British travelogue and social history-lite. In Hope & Glory Maconie attempts something a little more ambitious; an exploration of the social and cultural development of modern Britain through ten 'key events' of the twentieth century, roughly one from each decade, brought to life by visiting the sites where the events took place. It is a simple enough idea, but while Maconie is an amiable companion for most of his somewhat rambling journey, he doesn't quite stick to the plot, nor fully deliver the concept.

The problem is largely that Maconie allows too much of himself and his personal likes and prejudices to get in the way. While he is clearly no social commentator of the calibre of George Orwell, despite The Observer's effusive cover blurb, Maconie writes interestingly enough about events such as the fight for universal suffrage, and in particular the first day of the battle of the Somme. Where things begin to go wrong is when Maconie allows his left-wing 'sociology teacher' politics, not just to intrude on his analysis of events, but to completely overwhelm them. Hence every tired cliche in the book is deployed to ensure that we are left in no doubt that the Royals are pointless, privileged, out of touch half-wits, while the likes of Paul Cook (erstwhile Sex Pistol and 'God Save The Queen' contributor) is a 'hell of a nice chap', despite being judged by most reasonable people at the time of his 5 minutes of fame, as a bit of a foul-mouthed oik. The 'Battle of Orgreave' during the miners' strike of 84/85 is portrayed as a deliberate attempt by the establishment, through the underhand machinations of the police, to provoke a violent confrontation; everyone involved in the social and political unrest of the 1920s was a peace-loving salt-of-the-earth worker fighting justifiably for the right to work; Enoch Powell was essentially a right-wing loon with a Hitler moustache. While there may be elements of truth in Maconie's assertions, his credentials as an unbiased and analytical observer are never properly established, and in the worst passages he has a tendency to soapbox rather than back up his claims with properly researched evidence.

The book is at its best when Maconie is on home ground, talking about his equal loves of music and hill-walking. The few pages in which he muses lovingly about the Lake District hills and tantalises the reader with the promise of returning to this subject in the future, are the best in the book. Maconie loses his sense of humour when peddling his politics, and this makes for difficult and stodgy reading. When he lightens up, as in his analysis of the Blair years in the book's final chapter, the political commentary becomes far more astute and readable. Perhaps stung by the Bill Bryson comparisons, Stuart Maconie has opted to write something with more bite and gravitas. A fine idea no doubt, but one which needed to be backed up with a little more intellectual rigour and a little less reliance on populist left-wing cliche.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars At last a history book with just the interesting bits in, 5 April 2013
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This review is from: Hope and Glory: A People's History of Modern Britain (Paperback)
Excellent service, quick delivery very good condition.
Very enjoyable book, Mr Maconie is up there now rubbing shoulders with Bill Bryson. I found something of a guilty pleasure reading Cider with Roadies and Pies and Predudice with a northern bias. This one is for everyone very interesting, educational and amusing. If history lessons were written like this in the sixties I wouldn't have dropped it for metal work.
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3 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Entertaining, but..., 4 Oct 2011
By 
Peter Lee (Manchester ,United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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I really enjoy Stuart Maconie's work as a broadcaster and as a writer, but for me this book seemed to have lost something along the way.

The idea is good: Stuart basically looks at the 20th century and picks a significant date from each decade, then explains its importance, so in one chapter he talks about the 1966 World Cup final, and in another he examines "Live Aid", and elsewhere he looks at the death of Queen Victoria etc. Each chapter begins by explaining the event itself but then takes something of a tangent where Stuart travels to some related location and describes his day out. In several of the chapters spends many pages describing a village, his journey there (and sometimes back again), the people he meets, the shops he sees, the teacake and latte he enjoys for lunch... and so on. It's all wittily written but sometimes it felt like padding, as though each chapter was an essay written to a target word count, and as he fell short he decided to talk about his lunch for a while.

The second issue I had with this book is that he doesn't remain entirely impartial to the events being described, and there are too many chapters where he seems determined to speak his mind about some injustice or other, and it all becomes a little too political for my liking at times.

There are some wonderful bits in the book. The chapter on the Accrington Pals is moving, and I particularly enjoyed the one on Live Aid, and there are plenty of wry smiles and chuckles to be derived from the text, but for me it felt like there was a little too much padding in places. A shame really.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Misleading title, 9 Oct 2013
By 
John Charles Harris "Badger" (Czech Republic) - See all my reviews
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I like Stuart Maconie's style of broadcasting and writing, sense of humour and in general, taste in music. I also thoroughly enjoyed the first two chapters of this book, particularly Stuart's colourful and humourous, travelogue-style reflections on the places he visited during the course of his writing. That was as far as I got however, due to the rapidly increasing influence of Stuart's personal political views on the subsequent chapters.

I have no interest in politics, but accept that in "a people's history", inclusion of political references is unavoidable. However, I was more than a little disappointed that Stuart missed the opportunity he set up so well in the first part, to make the book live up to its somewhat grandiose sub-title. In view of this, a more appropriate and less misleading sub-title might have been, "a northerner's personal view of modern British history".
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another corker!, 6 Sep 2011
By 
A. M. Kittle (UK) - See all my reviews
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Have been a fan of Stuart's for years. Love his writtings. Enjoying this one too. To tell you how good I think he is, I LEND his books to people instead of giving them!! Always want their return to re read!!
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars As good as usual, 29 Aug 2011
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As good as usual - Stuart M has an easy to read style and whether you are looking for a pick up and put down book or a complete read through this is very good.
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Hope and Glory: A People's History of Modern Britain
Hope and Glory: A People's History of Modern Britain by Stuart Maconie (Paperback - 10 May 2012)
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