In Search Of England Hardcover – 5 Nov 2009
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* A charming, first-person celebration of England and Englishness by our foremost politician-turned-writer
About the Author
Roy Hattersley is a politician turned writer. He was elected to Parliament in 1964 and in 1983 he became deputy leader of the Labour Party. He has written columns for The Guardian, Punch and The Listener.
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Top Customer Reviews
From the middle 1960's until the present day Hattersley has commented on (and participated in) the changing face of England. As early as 1965 he identified that "something has to be done" about the manufacture of steel in England and he was able to identify the key problem with Liverpool in 1990 - "this city needs more jobs". The 25 years between those two comments must have been difficult for Hattersley, for he could see the issues, but not execute the solutions.
The book is arranged in a number of sections - each of which has a single theme. Churches, sport, animals and heavy industry are all examined. Such themes have defined much English behaviour over the years, and this arrangement seem to work much better than a strictly chronological approach.
I do not believe you can enter politics without a high degree of self confidence, and at times this shows through - as when John Betjeman is dismissed as a "mediocre poet", but what comes though most strongly in these works is a sense of conviction that not only can things be done better, but that many things are also worth protecting. So you have both a sense of desire for change and love of tradition. He still enjoys the now much reduced gatherings of miners in the North East of England, but knows that the economy has turned away from these areas.Read more ›
In 1927, Henry Morton described his clockwise auto tour around England in In Search of England. Perhaps newspaper columnist and ex-Labour MP Roy Hattersley read this book and borrowed the title for his own, a collection of short essays on the essence of England written over the period of the 70s, 80s, 90s, and 00s for various publications including The Daily Mail, The Guardian, The Times, The Listener, and The Spectator.
Morton's prose occasionally approached the sublime, as when he wrote of his overnight in Shrewsbury:
"When I drew back the (hotel) bedroom's curtains, the moonlight printed itself green on the floor. It ran over the bed and lay slantwise upon a grim wardrobe that stood in the shadow of the ancient oak-beamed room. A proper Puckish night, with the green wash over hill and field, a night for elfin horns and mushroom rings and strange scurryings in thicket and copse. Somewhere near, a dog, unable to sleep and not knowing why - poor little lost wolf - whimpered restlessly.Read more ›
I was expecting something like an English version of Bill Bryson written in Roy's excellent fashion. But a disjointed collection of old newspaper stories. No!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A good book for dipping in and out of. Am looking forward to picking it up again!Published 11 months ago by J. Fuller
Eclectic collection of anecdotes about England, her oddities and her people. Love it. Of course it was written by a Yorkshireman.....Published 15 months ago by Jane H-J