Oxford Boy: A Post-War Townie Childhood Paperback – 1 Feb 2018
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'Journalist and television producer Will Wyatt's account of growing up in Oxford in the 1940s and 1950s is a delightful, absorbing read. . . . He writes with fondness and humour, recalling the simple pleasures of England in the period.' --The Lady, 'Book of the Week'
'A very enjoyable read. Joyful and often very funny, the story moves along at a constantly entertaining pace. It's a great celebration of growing up.' --Michael Palin
'This is a remarkable memoir. Oxford Boy offers us a complete picture of a family's way of life. Aunts and uncles crowd its pages: tales of bricklaying, betting, school friendships and corner shops ... all recalled fondly and evocatively. This is not academic Oxford, but the Oxford of Cowley workers and ex-servicemen. And, at its heart, a petty crime that launched Will Wyatt towards his remarkable BBC career.' --Joan Bakewell
About the Author
Will Wyatt worked for the BBC as a producer, head of documentaries and managing director of television. He has been on the boards of a bookmaker, a manufacturing company and a media consultancy, and was chairman of the University of the Arts London and the Teaching Awards. He has written two previous books: The Man Who Was B. Traven (Cape, 1980) and The Fun Factory: A Life in the BBC (Aurum Press, 2003).
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This is definitely not the Oxford of Evelyn Waugh and Brideshead - indeed the youthful Wyatt (his father was a bricklayer) recalls the class challenge of a cricket match against the grand and privileged Dragon School. His childhood was ordinary but typical of a generation. The book opens with a well told, and very revealing, story of an ambitious primary school headmaster helping a young Wyatt cheat to get a higher grade in the eleven plus examination. It was the successful outcome of this ruse that contributed to his winning a place at Cambridge subsequent glittering career with the BBC
Technically Will Wyatt would not be a baby boomer as he was born during WW2 but this book feels very much like a baby boom background material. If you are one of the generation that remembers the arrival of a television set in the home as a novelty, were once the proud possessor of a scout’s “woggle” ( Wyatt was in the Oxford 29th wolf cub pack) and you were in the school CCF then the odds are you will enjoy this book for evocative, nostalgic memories. If you are younger but interested in what made Britain the way it is you will enjoy this for authenticity of the sort material that shows up in oral history projects.
So well written I'm re-reading it. (double value).