Everyone talks about ‘Middle England’. Sometimes they mean something bad, like a lynch mob of tabloid readers, and sometimes they mean something good, like a pint of ale in a sleepy Cotswold village. But just where and what is Middle England? Stuart Maconie didn’t know either, so he packed his Thermos and sandwiches and set off to find out... Is Middle England about tradition and decency or closed minds and bigotry? Is it maypoles and evensong, or flooded market towns and binge drinkers? Does it hark back to the myth of Merrie England or is it a modern concept borne of Top Gear and Princess Diana? Stuart Maconie leads an expedition by rail and road – via Carnforth and Adelstrop, Scratchwood and Tebay – in search of Jane Austen’s Bath, Disgusted’s Tunbridge Wells, Tom & Barbara Good’s Surbiton, Betjeman and Brent’s Slough, Elgar’s Malverns, Inspector Barnaby’s Midsomer and Thatcher’s Grantham – with plenty of stop-offs for tea and pastries along the way.
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Is Middle England about tradition and decency or closed minds and bigotry? Is it maypoles and evensong, or flooded market towns and binge drinkers in the park? Stands the church clock still at ten to three, and is there honey still for tea? And is Slough really as bad as Ricky Gervais and John Betjeman make out?Review:
'It is these juxtapositions of the high and the low, the hip and the furiously unfashionable, or, if you like, the sublime and the ridiculous, that make Maconie such an entertaining tour guide.' -- Mail on Sunday, 8 March, 2009
'Maconie's gift is finding beauty in the most unexpected places and after reading this you'll want to call up Google maps and plan your own journey. It's a wonderfully enriching read.' -- News of the World, 8 March, 2009
'Stuart Maconie discovers whether Middle England is a place or a feeling... all described with his usual charm and wit.'
-- Lonely Planet, 1 March, 2009
'Taken as a whole, the book amounts to a time capsule of England as it is now; it is, in its quirky offbeat way, a celebration of this country's extra-ordinary capacity to accomodate change while remaining essentially the same.' -- Mail on Sunday, 8 March, 2009
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Book Description Ebury Press, 2009. Paperback. Book Condition: Brand New. 352 pages. 8.46x5.31x0.98 inches. In Stock. Bookseller Inventory # zk0091926505