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The Progressive Patriot: A Search for Belonging Hardcover – 9 Oct 2006
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"An intriguing and timely book, which opens a new angle on the debate of what it means to be British and a patriot" (Daily Express)
"Charming and engaging... The Progressive Patriot flows with integrity and commitment" (The Independent)
"Whatever your views, there is much to be inspired by here, and much you will want to rant right back at." (Sunday Telegraph) -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.
A passionate and brilliant polemic on the meaning of national identity in modern Britain -- Dieser Text bezieht sich auf eine andere Ausgabe: Paperback.See all Product description
Top customer reviews
Its a great reminder of who we are and how we came about as a society . Nothing wrong with progressive patriotism as long as we remember its about everyone .
So reading Billy Bragg's book has been a pleasure for me - discovering that a favourite musician has thought deeply about this and written a book.
The history is explained well and personally. I loved that, but I have to say I thought the book lost its way a bit about 2/3 of the way through. I can't be sure if that's because it was where Bragg's narrative and my own memories were almost the same...
Well worth reading, as a perspective on punk if nothing else!
Funnily enough, there is another book that merges all of the above, but from a more intimate angle. I refer to: One Love Two Colours: The unlikely marriage of a Punk Rocker & his African Queen, by Margaret Oshindele-Smith - a book that merges a relationship story via difficult issues such as colour-grading and national identity - as seen by a black woman and a white man in England.
So this isn't your standard musician's book, although he gives a very good account of the relationships between British and American folk music in the 60's (an early influence was Paul Simon, and BB makes the fascinating suggestion that "The Boxer" was inspired by a Essex fighter named Billy Walker) and the way he got swept along with the arrival of punk in 1976. In addition, he writes very well (he memorably describes the difference between writing a song and a book, comparing taking a photograph to "painting in oils on a twelve-by-twenty foot canvas"). He's clearly put a lot of work into this book (though I think the first name of the historian he calls Charles Babington MacCaulay was really Thomas), but the overall point he's trying to make remains obscure.
First, as others have pointed out, there seems to be a confusion about nationalism, patriotism and xenophobia, which get used interchangably. More crucially, he doesn't appear to draw a distinction between Britain, Great Britain, the United Kingdom and England, which is both a standard source of bewilderment for foreigners and a touchy subject for many inhabitants of these islands, although it should be handled carefully in a book which is supposed to be about national identity.
His proposals for how to go about setting up a Declaration Of Rights seem a little naive - indeed, his argument for why such a thing is needed (which includes the contention that it would be a great way to celebrate the anniversary of the 1707 Acts Of Union) is unconvincing. But, leaving his call to action aside, this is still a good book - well written, wide-ranging and (for the most part) stimulating.
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