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English Journey Hardcover – August, 1984


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr (Tx); Subsequent edition (August 1984)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226682129
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226682129
  • Product Dimensions: 1 x 7 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,509 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By J. Kaufman on May 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Priestley travels around the UK and in his dependable prose examines aspects of British life and landscape. His passage about the mythical 'Rusty Lane, West Bromwich' is a superb piece of writing. Occasionally he over-sentimentalises but mostly he stands up for the disenfranchised in the nation. Softer in tone than Orwell's Wigan Pier but similar in intention. A great read.
The book reminds me of Louis Theroux's Kingdom by the Sea or the work of Bill Bryson although it details a more innocent age.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Farrer on May 6, 2014
Format: Paperback
This review is from: English Journey (Hardcover)

J.B. Priestly was a very popular novelist and playwright. His fame reached its apex in 1940 with his BBC radio broadcasts on Sunday evenings. These wartime commentaries reached upto 16 million UK listeners. He threatened to rival Churchill in popularity.
This book is his first exercise in social and political comment and is based on a journey through the England of 1933. Already a popular writer he received a large advance from both Heinemann and Gollanz to support his travels by bus, train and his chauffeur-driven Daimler. His journey starts in the south and meanders through Bristol, the Cotswolds, Birmingham, the cities of the northwest and over to The Tyne and Durham, before returning to London via East Anglia.
He writes well in a simple, often humorous, middle-brow prose. His contemporaries, Graham Greene, Virginia Woolfe and George Orwell were deeply suspicious of his popularity and influence, mocking his style and affected northern roots.
Priestly had served in the First World War and had been wounded by shrapnel and was later badly gassed and taken from the line. One of the highlights of the book is the record of his regimental reunion where he meets the 8 survivors of his old platoon. Some of these men believed he had been killed in action. That really is a reunion.
Some men had been invited and had been told that if they lacked funds, others would buy their tickets for them. Some replied that they were still unable to attend because they could not afford proper clothes. This was the worst period of the inter-war depression, long before the Attlee/Beveridge welfare state.
The delight of the book is not in description of place, which is done well enough, but in the authentic dialogue.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By John the Reader on May 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In 1934, as the English economy plunged after WWI (the First World War)English author and playwright J. B, Priestley undertook a tour around the English shires. His journey proved to be as dark as George Orwell's earlier explorations (Down and Out, Road to Wigan Pier) as Priestley encountered miners and shipyard workers whose jobs had expired with the war boom.

Still governed by the hangover of the classes and mores of the Victorian era, the working and non-working poor of England actually suffered near-starvation for want of any proper social safety net. Under the authorities heavy reliance on Charity, `individualism' and the Free Market Forces, the living standards of the working class plunged below even the `bread and marg and cup of tea' levels of the period before the war. Despite long discussions of solutions in Government circles, based around the difference of feeding and housing an entire family on five shillings a week, or ninepence more, the suspicions of the better-off towards the storied `welfare queens' of the time (miners lolling in luxury on nearly 6 shillings a week) stalled those solutions and they were not enacted, and the suffering continued up to WWII (the Second World War).

Priestley descriptions however draw a picture of valiant and dogged determination and his obvious admiration shines through the smoke, smog, poverty and gloom.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
An interesting and well written travel book,,My wife also enjoyed it.
I was born in England and know some of the villages refrred to in the book/
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Jill Risko on October 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Quirky older book. My daughter enjoys older books and this is one she enjoys certain aspects of. Not her favorite.
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