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In Search Of England Hardcover – 5 Nov 2009

4.0 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown (5 Nov. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408700964
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408700969
  • Product Dimensions: 16.2 x 3 x 24 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 522,805 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Book Description

* 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.


Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By Stewart M TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 7 Jun. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In Search of England seems to contain many voices - but they all come from Roy Hattersley. You can hear the voice of the Labour politician, the dog lover, the Yorkshireman, the hill walker, Sheffield Wednesday fan and the lover of English countryside. At different times each voice comes to the fore - and on many occasions they blend to form a single one.

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.
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By Mr. Joe HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWER on 6 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
"The tombs of cross-legged crusaders, the memorials to long-forgotten squires and the shoe-scraped tablets that cover what time has left of last remains remind the visitor of more than the history of England. They bear witness to the centuries of worship and belief. On the top deck of a bus or in the second row of stalls skepticism is ridiculously easy. In church it is only possible for those who are prepared to tell the ghosts that they all got it wrong." - Roy Hattersley on England's churches

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Roy Hattersley has written some good books, but this is not one of them. What it does not tell you is that it is just reprints of his column in the Guardian and many go back to 1980 or earlier. So disappointed was I with this book that I left it at the hotel we were staying at as could not be bothered to bring it home.
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!
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Roy Hattersley is a writer as well as a politician - indeed still writing but retired from politics. Over many years he had a column - moved between several periodicals - the length of time and the high standing of the periodicals proving that his work was widely read and appreciated. The book is divided into themes and the range of subjects is wide, always interesting and often giving a new view of a familiar place or person. This is no narrow party political production but the thoughts of a man who really looked about him as he travelled round the country.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Exceedingly readable........nice little cameos - read some, in no order, - come back to it. An interesting and enjoyable book. Well written ; it puts a different perspective ( in my humble view ! ) of Mr Hattersley.
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