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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National pride without the National Front
This book continues the good work of Common Ground, a group which campaigns quietly and intelligently to celebrate all things local, distinctive and interesting. Although this book celebrates England, its approach would translate to Wales, Scotland or any other country on earth.

It's a very beautiful and solid book - a pleasure to handle and look at, with line...
Published on 18 Sep 2006 by Waterbaby

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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A work in progress
Just received as a present. Impressive presentation and an interesting concept.

My first foray into the volume however revealed what I believe to be an error - as a native of Kent I believe that in the section on nicknames they have got Men of Kent and Kentish Men the wrong way round. They'll be hopping (mad) down in Kent.

I'll dip into the rest of...
Published on 16 Nov 2011 by Stephen Harris


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87 of 89 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars National pride without the National Front, 18 Sep 2006
This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
This book continues the good work of Common Ground, a group which campaigns quietly and intelligently to celebrate all things local, distinctive and interesting. Although this book celebrates England, its approach would translate to Wales, Scotland or any other country on earth.

It's a very beautiful and solid book - a pleasure to handle and look at, with line drawings and lovely typesetting. It's also a book which can be dipped into time and again, so perhaps an ideal present. But it is not a mere coffee table book. Nor is it a paean to John Major's England - country cottages, old ladies cycling to church on bicycles, 'and is there honey still for tea' etc. It's a thoughtful and thought-provoking catalogue of the local foods, landscape features, animals, buildings, legends and customs which make up our current national identity. National identity, like personal identity, is an accumulation of little habits, customs, preferences. So you will find Bakewell Pudding in here, or Hedgerows, or Abbot Bromley Horn Dance.

As you read it will dawn on you that you are quietly being asked - what is it about YOUR place that is special, characteristic, lovely? What would you miss most if it went? Are you taking for granted the loveliest features of your environment just because they are commonplace?

So it's a book that encourages you to look around and rejoice in what survives of earlier traditions. Refreshingly, however, there is no suggestion that we should fossilise our culture and stop buildings, customs or games developing. It merely lists those things which are special to England. If you are one of the many people who takes pride in the curiosities and beauties of England, but doesn't want to keep it in aspic, nor necessarily to fly the flag of St George from a car window, this book will be a great pleasure to you.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rich as Stilton - the English landscape on a micro-scale, 18 Dec 2007
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This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
An engrossing trawl through the detailed, local and vernacular. If you have an interest in the fine detail of the English landscape you'll certainly find a wealth of things here to interest you, be it thatching techniques, new year ceremonies, pub names, breeds of apple or varieties of brick. Anyone who shares a house with you should be prepared to be buttonholed with a series of fascinating facts and if you have a feeling for maps you'll probably feel the need to annotate an atlas of England with things to go and look at. It would be the perfect companion for a journey across England on foot or by bike, at the sort of pace where you can see the stone, soil type and architecture changing gradually - at least, if it weren't so large, which makes it perfect to dip into but too large for a rucksack!
I have a few caveats. There is, of course, some unevenness as one would expect in a compendium of this nature - there is a perceptible slant towards public art projects funded by the Common Ground charity to which the authors belong, which will date it in a few years - and some frustration in the amputated nature of coverage of issues straddling a border, inevitable in a work dealing with England rather than Great Britain. (Treatment of the sea-mist of the east coast really needs to mention dialect names from north of the border as well, for instance, just as discussion of estuaries is a little strange when three of the largest - Severn, Solway and Dee - are only half in England.) Some clearly important subjects, too, such as parish churches or railways, are clearly too large to discuss in the necessary detail in a one volume encyclopedia of this nature, but are still represented - presumably for completeness' sake - in an inevitably frustrating and superficial fashion. These, however, are minor niggles. Plunge in and immerse yourself in a world of Accrington Bloods and Hooden Horses.
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41 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Particular Treat, 30 Jun 2006
This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
While agreeing wholeheartedly with the previous reviewer's sentiments about this excellent book, I felt it was worth pointing out that Crop Circles are on p.118, Sustrans cycle routes on p.122 and Public Libraries on p.260. I wouldn't be surprised if there were sandcastles too, it's a book that continues to give up secrets and surprises on re-reading as well as being an instantaneous treasure.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The English from Abbeys to Zigzags, 9 Mar 2011
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Robin Benson - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
How do you sum up a nation in a book? Clifford and King have bypassed all the usual razzmatazz of royalty, military successes (or failures) politics and culture and gone for something much more basic and interesting: the bric-a-brac of everyday life. In 512 pages the two authors have packed in an amazing amount of information. For instance M covers: Maltings; Manhole covers; Market crosses; Market gardens; Markets; Martello towers; May Day; Maypoles; Melas; Mews and on to the last one Music.

Each entry has several hundred words written in a straightforward style that is a pleasure to read. There is a slight downside though because all the entries end with 'See also' followed by a few related subjects. A trap for the unwary because you'll end up, like I did, meandering through these taking in all kinds of fascinating odds and ends and suddenly another hour has gone.

The authors have wisely avoided using photos with the text. Instead the work of several illustrators has been used to liven up the pages. From David Gentleman's pen and ink and Clifford Harper's woodcut style to the simple, deft line and wash technique of James Sillavan, the hundreds of pictures give just the right feel to the pages.

The Contents list all the entries but nicely there is huge Index, amazingly twenty-seven pages long and a very full bibliography for each entry (I mentioned Manhole covers above: five books are listed).

None of the entries deal with anything so vulgar as commerce but if you are curious about how Bovril, Marks & Spencer, British Rail and plenty of others have contributed to the English character have a look at two books by Peter Ashley: Unmitigated England: A Country Lost and Found and More From Unmitigated England or English Difference, The. All three books are strongly visual and throw up all the quirky and enduring traits of the English.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Magnificient Reference Book!, 2 April 2009
By 
Chris "Reactiv8" (Herefordshire, England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
A stunningly well Researched Reference book with all the Sources and more ...

Something of a Bargain too and Essential for your home Library!

We had one on loan for too long from the library - Now proud and happy owners! ...

Not Worthy etc.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very good, 24 Mar 2014
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This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
This came undamaged and very quickly considering it was around christmas my Aunty was looking forward to getting this and very happy.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Genius, 18 Mar 2014
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This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
A work of love and genius finding the interesting in the everyday. If you like tradition, or are just curious about ANYTHING to do with physical human or cultural geography, you have to have this book. I have bought a number of copies for friends. It makes the best present.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Splendid!, 16 July 2011
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S. Day - See all my reviews
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This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
This is the most wonderful collection of information about the places and events that make England so special. It is beautifully set out with wonderful illustrations, and is a joy to own. I have bought several copies over the years as gifts, because I love it so much I wanted everyone I love to experience the pleasure it gives. I recently bought one for my daughter-in-law who has just emigrated to the USA - she was absolutely thrilled with all the quirky and interesting information. Sue Clifford and Angela King always research their books so thoroughly and infuse their passion for local distinctiveness lovingly in every page. Kay Day
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20 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 19 Aug 2006
By 
R. Hall "Anglophile" (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
If you buy just one book this year, buy this one. I think this book should be on everyones book shelf - It is a fantastic treasure trove of English culture.
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1 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A work in progress, 16 Nov 2011
This review is from: England in Particular: A Celebration of the Commonplace, the Local, the Vernacular and the Distinctive (Hardcover)
Just received as a present. Impressive presentation and an interesting concept.

My first foray into the volume however revealed what I believe to be an error - as a native of Kent I believe that in the section on nicknames they have got Men of Kent and Kentish Men the wrong way round. They'll be hopping (mad) down in Kent.

I'll dip into the rest of the book with interest but also with a critical eye.
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