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30 of 30 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An English Gem, 16 Feb. 2006
This review is from: English Journey (Paperback)
English Journey is a gem in its own right as a piece of travel writing but the fact that its was written in 1933 adds a fancinating historical dimension to Priestley’s tarvel around England by ‘motor coach’ which he describes as,
“They are voluptuous, sybaritic, of doubtful morality.”
Never has a coach been so eloquently painted in the reader’s mind. Moreover, with all the human touches that make you realise you are learning more about the author than about the place being visited,
“I spent the next day, which was fine and warm, at Bournville. There were several good reasons for doing this. To begin with, I was interested in the manufacture of chocolate, having bought and eaten in my time great quantities of the stuff, and having several times, when I was about ten tried unsuccessfully to make it myself.”
The book does more than present big adjectives and quirky childhood anecdotes. Priestly considers the fate of the industrial class and the economic state of Britain, post the Great War (1914-1918) in an insightful way by stepping out of middle-class London and right into the lives of the British working class.
This is a delightful read, better than Theroux’s (normally my favorite travel writer) rather turgid English travel writing, The Kingdom by the Sea: A Journey Around the Coast of Great Britain, penned in 1982.
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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 10 Mar 2011, 16:46:01 GMT
B. WARD says:
Completely agree with your comment about Theroux

Posted on 12 Jun 2015, 11:33:08 BST
English Journey

Priestley did not travel by motor coach. He drove or was driven in a motor car. The coach appears at the start of the book as a one off trip from London to Southampton. His delight in the journey depends on the fact that the "Motor Coach" was then a novelty, replacing the open charabanc. The context of his journey is not postwar, after the Great War, but in the Great Depression years.

Posted on 7 Jan 2016, 13:53:17 GMT
I loved this, Theroux less so. I had a go at Bryson which was decent and then, on a whim, read a new retracing of Bryson's Notes from a Small Island which was actually much closer in style and angle to Priestley than Bryson. It was called Dear Bill Bryson. I forget the author. Does anyone know if JB wrote other travel books?

S Williams

Dear Bill Bryson: Footnotes from a Small Island

In reply to an earlier post on 26 Nov 2016, 13:40:16 GMT
Anthony Ford says:
Read the Priestley and then Aitken's 'Dear Bill Bryson'. Very much enjoyed both.
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