‘The finest book ever written about England and the English’ Stuart Maconie
‘J. B. Priestley is one of our literary icons of the 20th Century and it is time that we all became re-acquainted with his genius.’ Dame Judi Dench
Three years before George Orwell made his expedition to the far and frozen North in The Road to Wigan Pier, celebrated writer and broadcaster JB Priestley cast his net wider, in a book subtitled ‘a Rambling but Truthful Account of What One Man Saw and Heard and Felt and Thought During a Journey Through England During the Autumn of the Year 1933.’ Appearing first in 1934, it was a huge and immediate success. Today, it still stands as a timeless classic: warm-hearted, intensely patriotic and profound.
An account of his journey through England – from Southampton to the Black Country, to the North East and Newcastle, to Norwich and home – English Journey is funny and tender. But it is also a forensic reading of a changing England and a call to arms as passionate as anything in Orwell’s bleak masterpiece. Moreover, it both captured and catalysed the public mood of its time. In capturing and describing an English landscape and people hitherto unseen, writing scathingly about vested interests and underlining the dignity of working people, Priestley influenced the thinking and attitudes of an entire generation and helped formulate a public consensus for change that led to the birth of the welfare state.
Prophetic and as relevant today as it was nearly ninety years ago, English Journey is an elegant and readable love letter to a country Priestley finds unfathomable.
Title: English Journey
Author: Priestley, J. B.
Publication date: 13/04/2023
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers