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Initially, this must have been a simple idea - recreate the Jarrow March 80 years - to the day - after it took place in October 1936, and compare how the walkers fared to what he discovers on his own journey. Typical Maconie, you might think. However, Brexit and Trump hang so heavily over this excellent, thoughtful book, that it becomes - as well as an excellent potted account of the 1936 walk - an analysis of where England finds itself in 2016-17. As you might expect, he is no fan of Trump, May or indeed Brexit itself, nor is he a fan of Corbyn - accusing him, with some justification, of ignoring Labour's traditional working class voters, so typified by the Marchers themselves. Along the way he eulogizes about Leeds has little good to say about Market Harborough, but is charmed by the drinkers in an Italian bar in Bedford, and has other memorable encounters with multi-cultural England, most of them positive.
As you might expect, this is an entertaining book, beautifully read by the author (although be warned that there is some rather jarring editing that almost made me take a star off the performance - but I though to do so would be churlish and insulting to the author). I suspect the strong political slant may grate with one or two listeners, yet as always his points are well made and winningly argued.
Overall,Long Road From Jarrow is funny, educational and actually rather moving. Highly recommended.
PS. Any book that slips in a mention of Yes guitarist Steve Howe is fine by me.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
There were times early on in the book where I lost sight of whether this was a then and now tale of English life with the Jarrow Crusade at the epicentre, interjected with feelings of Brexit. or a Brexit tale, interjected with feelings of the Jarrow Crusade. But looking past all that, Stuart meets some fascinating people, and recounts the story of a historic march. All while giving a detailed and enjoyable listen of how different life has changed over these 80 years, and not just on an obvious way. Overall? I loved it.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful