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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that changed my life
I read the first paperback version of this book some time in the early 1960s. It enhanced and enriched my outlook on popular culture, and helped colour my approach to the teaching of English early in a career that was to last 35 years. I look forward to reading the reissued edition (2009). I recommend this book to everybody interested in an examination of why we think the...
Published on 26 Oct 2009 by Patrick Hunt

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Snobbery
Hoggart is a of hero of mine for his contributions to the debates about the importance of reading so I was shocked at the barley disguised snobbery in the book. I know he wrote it in very different times and I tried to take this into account but a condescending attitude to aspects of 'working class life' got in the way of my appreciation of the points he was making...
Published 5 months ago by Adrian Townsend


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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A book that changed my life, 26 Oct 2009
By 
Patrick Hunt (Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read the first paperback version of this book some time in the early 1960s. It enhanced and enriched my outlook on popular culture, and helped colour my approach to the teaching of English early in a career that was to last 35 years. I look forward to reading the reissued edition (2009). I recommend this book to everybody interested in an examination of why we think the way we do.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A multi-faceted classic, 22 May 2012
This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This works on so many different levels in so many different ways. Very much of its time, it is a beautifully-written analysis of the attitudes and beliefs of what was then known as the working class. A phrase rarely if ever heard today, presumably for reasons of alleged political correctness. As mentioned in other reviews, Richard Hoggart's warnings about how the mass media was to evolve have proved uncannily accurate. He also explains with great clarity and accuracy what makes people do what they do and think what they think - then and now.

What is equally scary is that he describes a set of values and attitudes that I have inherited from my parents - values that seem almost alien in today's culture.

A brilliant book, recommended to anyone with an interest in what makes us what we are as a people. Hoggart offers something close to the definitive study of what makes up the mass media ethos, content and consumer.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Prescient and Timeless, 20 Oct 2009
By 
Mr. L. J. Atterbury (PILA Poland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This is a classic text that is written with a certain charm and modesty and is eminently readable. It evokes, for the present day reader,the atmosphere of the post-war years and the rapid changes that were taking place in popular culture and social attitudes. These changes heralded the cultural tidal wave of the 1960's, but what makes Hoggart so prescient and timeless is that when reading his cautions and doubts now, more than 50 years later, it is plain to see that his fears were well grounded. For example, when he writes:
"Most mass-entertainments are in the end what D.H.Lawrence described as "anti-life". They are full of corrupt brightness, of improper appeals and moral evasions...progress is conceived as a seeking of material possessions, equality as a moral levelling, and freedom as the ground for endless irresponsible pleasure...nothing which can really grip the brain or heart."
it seems to be the present day rather than the 1950's that he is writing about, and he clearly foresees a uniform public culture, devoid of discernment or criticism, in which those who accuse it of being empty and valueless are mocked and ridiculed.
"The Uses of Literacy" is an important and stimulating book that provides valuable insight into the journey from the 1950's to the cultural malaise of the present day.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The usefullest book you could read, 24 Jun 2012
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This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
I read Richard Hoggart's "The Uses of Literacy" for the first time at least 40 years ago, and lent it to all my friends, with the result that, inevitably, I forgot who was the last person to borrow it. So eventually I got round to buying myself a new copy, and am very glad I did. It's as important and stimulating a read now as it was then. If only all books were so useful, so compassionate, so full of insight and so literate.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Past times brought alive for us., 5 Feb 2014
By 
Brian Hamilton (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
One of the virtues of this book is that it offers such a richly textured description of the life and culture of the North-of England working-class half a century ago. To read the book is almost to step back in time to a world that few of us today can remember or ever experienced. Hoggart's affection and respect for the people he grew up with are unmistakeable. One of the amusing aspects of the book is that in order to avoid libel cases, the author invented examples of the 'trashy' literature he criticises, most memorably "Death Cab for Cutie".

I would recommend this to anyone interested in reading a vivid and memorable slice of the social history of Britain.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Unexpected Snobbery, 19 Jun 2014
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Hoggart is a of hero of mine for his contributions to the debates about the importance of reading so I was shocked at the barley disguised snobbery in the book. I know he wrote it in very different times and I tried to take this into account but a condescending attitude to aspects of 'working class life' got in the way of my appreciation of the points he was making.
That being said, if you can put this to one side his views on the importance of literature and our tendency to dumb down are still relevant.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A real classic -, 23 Mar 2014
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For such an important book about the sociology of language this is a wonderfully easy read . Hoggart's crystal clear language is a delight.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keep the wheels turning, 5 Nov 2013
By 
Johnrobertson "Bookworm" (Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
As always Richard Hoggart gets underneath the outer skin of whatever the subject is being reviewed by his forensic eye and The Uses of Literacy is no exception.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Read and Reflect, 19 May 2014
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This review is from: The Uses of Literacy: Aspects of Working-Class Life (Penguin Modern Classics) (Paperback)
This has been a re-visiting after a long time to a book that was and still is both pleasurable and essential
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4.0 out of 5 stars How we were, 2 May 2014
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Mr. Harold Cotton (Manchester) - See all my reviews
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For those of us who were around when this book was published we wonder why we never read it. After all I knew of its existence. Now as a person born into a working class family I find this book wrings of nostalgia and I am wallowing in it. Not finished it yet.
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