23 of 27 people found the following review helpful
This review is from: The Manchester Compendium: A Street-by-Street History of England's Greatest Industrial City (Paperback)
Firstly, a confession, as the nom de plume indicates I am a United fan, and so may be accused of being as biased as the 1 star brigade below. Which, as "The Genealogist" has pointed out, are part of a concerted campaign by a Manchester City FC website. The cause apparently being a couple of mild digs in their direction by Ed Glinert.
For those not familiar with Manchester football politics, a brief (and not entirely objective) résumé may assist. For large periods of the twentieth century United and City competed quite equally, all this changed in the 1990s when City sunk to the third tier of English football and United won just about everything. Added to this, United had gained worldwide prominence as a result of its survival from the 1958 Munich air disaster (when a young and highly promising team was lost on its pioneering challenge for European glory, but whose successors went on to achieve this goal 10 years later). The result was that United's support had spread worldwide. To assuage their pain City fans invented a (quite clever and certainly effective) myth that all Mancunians supported City. This gained credence throughout the country, particularly as other football fans in far away places like Surrey were irked by neighbours cheering on United trophies in their locals. This was all quite fine, until (like the Scousers before them) the City fans began to believe their own myth, and a troglodyte Mancunian tendency was born (viz "Liam Gallagher"): narrowly inward-looking, and so an effective denial of this once world-shaking and cosmopolitan city. This means that any reference to Manchester that doesn't blow smoke up their collective rear ends is howled down as heresy. Mr Glinert has fallen foul of this. Hence, the group references to him not being a Mancunian, as: Only A True Mancunian Can Of Manchester Write.
But to the book itself. I have found it to be excellent, full of interesting anecdotes, arranged, as the title suggests, on a street by street basis. True it lacks maps. As a native Mancunian (see I'm at it now) I didn't find this to be a problem, but a visitor would need to buy a separate guide (and as the book also doesn't do the tourist information bit re best hotels , bars, restaurants etc. most already would?). But as someone who has worked all his life in and around the city centre (there I go again) I have still found much to inform and delight me. This is well worth the money and I would heartily recommend it to anyone with an inquiring mind and an interest in Manchester.
To return to the negative reviews, and echoing 'The Genealogist', it is a shame that Amazon facilitates a concerted campaign to effectively, and unmeritedly, damage some-one's livelihood. I had seen this book before on Amazon but (I'm ashamed to say) didn't investigate further given it's woefully low star-rating. It was only when I began to read it, having been given it as a present, that I went back to see how such an excellent product could be rated so badly. A lesson to me, certainly. As a son of this liberal city I'm naturally inclined against censorship, but it can't be right that such lying comments can be made and left with impunity. How many of these people have so much as opened this book, though most claim to have purchased it. They pose as innocent reviewers yet I can find only one of them to have reviewed another book (The Big Book Of City no less). They all claim that the book is littered with factual errors, and also plagiarised; but offer no proof (isn't this slander?). The only one to attempt examples is "P. Butcher" (a cockney Eastender, surely!) , who writes:
"Amongst the errors are: page 38 the MCFC auction was predominantly performed at Hyde Rd not the Queen's Hotel.
page 48 - the 'unusual' sight of City winning the FA Cup (at that point in history City had won the FA Cup more times than Utd!)
page 65 - he talks of Utd's 1909 homecoming as if it was the greatest sporting homecoming the city had ever seen - that actually happened 5 years earlier with City!
page 137 - all about City is skewed towards negativity with some of Manchester's biggest triumphs ignored or ridiculed.
page 139 are wholly insulting about Swift and Munich."
All of these complaints are subjective and cannot, therefore, be classed as factual errors. Even the first doesn't deny the auction at the Queen's Hotel (which I have seen well attested to elsewhere), but merely asserts that it "was predominantly performed at Hyde Rd not the Queen's Hotel".
In short, although written by an "alien" this book is better representative of Manchester than are its parochial detractors.