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A book of two halves
on 9 October 2008
For the most part, this book is entertaining and witty. Maconie's enthusiam for his subject is contagious and the stuff you are learning is genuinely interesting. Then he stops writing about Lancashire and starts on Yorkshire.
I can't help but think that this book would have been better if Maconie had stuck to what he knows, ie: the west side of the Pennines. Quite how, for example, he can make various claims about 'professional Yorkshiremen' (a dying breed anyway) and deny the existence of the Lancastrian equivalent is an unforgivable oversight that kind of gives away where Maconie's loyalties lie. They are not called 'professional Lancastrians' as such, but how many 'professional Scousers' and 'professional Mancs' could we name? Is Stuart Maconie's beloved Peter Kay not a great example of a professional Lancastrian? There's nothing wrong with that, and while such matters don't ruin the book, there is a real difference in Pies and Prejudice between the writing about Cheshire and Lancashire and the writing about the rest of 'the North'.
That, and a few errors that half-decent any sub would have picked up, aside, the book largely does what it sets out to do: entertain. Southerners that aren't as touchy as this reviewer will probably enjoy it all the more too.