- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Ebury Press (9 Jun. 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0091926483
- ISBN-13: 978-0091926489
- Product Dimensions: 13.5 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 457,083 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Hope and Glory: The Days that Made Britain Paperback – 9 Jun 2011
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"He’ll be on the National Treasure list pretty soon"--The Times
"Magnificent… intensely readable"--Observer
"Completely beguiling"--Mail on Sunday
"Wonderfully enriching… Britain’s best loved travel writer"--News of the World
Travels in pursuit of the key moments of 20th century that have shaped us as a nationSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
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 the best part of the book. He seems most comfortable and most readable when he is meeting owners of cafes and eating teacakes. He illuminates the 'ordinary' person. Early chapters are very readable, although the writer tends to write more about the north of England than any other parts of Britain. He misses out Scotland altogether and has very little to say about the history of Wales.
About midway through, the book looses direction. There is a huge chapter on football with the sort of commentary that you hear from certain sorts of young football enthusiasts on the train from Cardiff to London. For the person who has no interest in football at all, this is purgatorial. I skipped most of it. After this chapter comes one that slips into a rant about the royal family. The trouble is that we have heard all of this before. The book is probably at its best when Maconie is almost invisible and at its worst when it degenerates into sociological jargon. In a book of this sort, we need to know less of Maconie's own opinions and leave the 'facts' to speak for themselves. It is also irritating when the author uses the book to let the reader know what Maconie has achieved.
There are numerous factual errors throughout the book and a lot of typos. Careful editing would have caught these errors before the book got into print. Generally, then, an enjoyable read but one that could have been so much better.
I have to take issue with the rather sneery "class warrior" stance that the author takes on many occasions as well. Yes there are easy targets and he doesn't fail to hit them but by the end of the book it all becomes rather tiresome and obvious. Where he does score though is in some of the descriptive, observational passages which are witty and clever and redeem the book to a great degree.
I appreciate that it is difficult to address British - or should I say - English history without some reference to class but because Mr Maconie paints it on with too large a brush in this volume I'm afraid as a historical commentary it is slightly tarnished. As a travelogue and observational piece however it passes muster OK
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I read this hard copy rather than Kindle.
For anyone interested in British social history it is an essential read. Read more
This book was quite good, but I did not enjoy it as much as his others. It is quite serious in tone and very politically left wing. Read morePublished 12 months ago by Mrs. S. Partridge
A fascinating read from from Stuart. He describes the places visited in a rich and layered way that draws you into the narrative. A great read.Published 21 months ago by Paul Maven
Good quality ex library book. Came in large print which wasn't mentioned in the postingPublished 22 months ago by Colin Green
Ascerbic and angry as ever - his views coincide exactly with mine so it was inevitable that I would enjoy reading it. Read morePublished on 7 Sept. 2014 by Ms. Joan Jackson