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In the autumn of 1936, some 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London in protest against the destruction of their towns and industries. Precisely 80 years on, Stuart Maconie walks from north to south, retracing the route of the emblematic Jarrow Crusade. Following history's footsteps, Maconie is in search of what modern Britain is really like today.
Travelling down the country's spine, Maconie moves through a land that is, in some ways, very much the same as the England of the '30s, with its political turbulence, austerity, north/south divide, food banks and, of course, football mania. Yet in other ways, it is completely unrecognisable: highstreets peppered with pound shops and e-cigarette vendors, smoothie bars and Costas on every corner.
Maconie visits the great, established and yet evolving cities of Leeds, Sheffield and London as well as the sleepy hamlets, quiet lanes and roaring motorways. He meets those with stories to tell and whose voices build a funny, complex and entertaining tale of Britain, then and now. Written in Maconie's signature style, this is a fascinating exploration of a modern nation that, though it looks and sounds strangely familiar, has been completely transformed.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Mr SA Lambe on 08-27-17
Fabulous, edgy recreation of the Jarrow March
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.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful
By J C Foxall on 02-20-18
Very informative and we'll presented.
Loved this thoroughly absorbing story. Very thought provoking and well presented in Stuart's own unique way. Well worth a listen.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful