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From Dover to the Wen (Penguin English Journeys) Mass Market Paperback – 2 Apr 2009
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About the Author
William Cobbett (1763-1835) was a prolific writer and radical journalist. Born in Surrey, the son of a tavern owner, he travelled extensively and educated himself, becoming a controversial anti-authority figure who fought against political corruption and injustice and campaigned for parliamentary reform. He was also a farmer, ensuring his workers had access to the three Bs: bacon, bread and beer.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
`This is what the people of Kent call the Garden of Eden. It is a district of meadows, corn fields, hop-gardens, and orchards of apples, pears, cherries and fliberts, with very little if any land which cannot, with propriety, be called good'
Top Customer Reviews
Much of the book is taken up with rather detailed attacks on various political decisions and the behavior of politicians in general. Cobbett is clearly concerned with the impact that these will have on the rural communities, and specifically general laborers and the rural poor. One of the central concerns of the book is the legislation known as The Corn Laws. These were a set of protectionist tariffs aimed at protecting agricultural producers from the impact of the lower gain prices available on imported gain, especially America. According to this book the main objective of this legislation was to protect the parliamentary landowners, and its main impact fell on the rural poor. The passion with which Cobbett puts forward his case is clear, even if the political references and the nature of the language used were often either lost on me or confusing.
However, some of the concerns expressed have a remarkable resonance with current affairs: politicians taking advantage of government systems for their own benefit (expenses claim anybody?), huge military expenditure on based on potentially misleading information (WMD's anybody), but most remarkable of all was this statement "Banks cannot break without producing misery". You have to wish a few financial wizards had read this prior to the GFC!!
This is not an easy or always accessible book, (hence the 3 start) but it is a remarkably passionate account of the unintended impact that political decisions can have on many people. Recommended as a clear alternative to the often bucolic view of the English landscape.