For the last three years David St John Thomas has travelled through Britain, exploring the fascinating and diverse character of Britain today. The result is a 700-page travelogue/commentary in the tradition of J.B. Priestley's English Journey. ...
Sometimes erudite, constantly perceptive and always eye opening and sympathetic to Britain's national condition, this is a breezy and entertaining account of Britain as it really is. From spending an evening with Patrick Moore or touring the Hebridean islands by ship, to travelling round the Lake District's coast by stopping train or savouring the continuing individuality of deepest Northumberland, the reader will quickly find the author a good companion and a reliable guide. David St John Thomas knows the nation well, both the familiar and the totally unexpected. He meets both famous and unknown people: old friends, authors, great gardeners, railwaymen, and many of those involved in the book business. Many seem to grow out of their landscape and all enrich the journey with their own stories and observations. Journey through Britain is a rich and fertile collection of people, organisations, books, art galleries, crafts, cliffs and beaches, canals, county bus services, mountain moors, cruise ships and cycle ways. There are glimpses of Britain's industrial history, old seaside towns, early Christian sites, great hotels and restaurants, as well as its small islands, craft industries and rural revivals of many kinds. There is much to enjoy and celebrate but there is conflict, too, as the book occasionally pauses on the journey to recall human foibles and their consequences. But what especially distinguishes the book is its unusually optimistic tone, sounding the true heartbeat of today's Britain. Its perspective is not so much that right triumphs over wrong as that Britain and the British are well able to withstand bureaucratic management and other nonsense as mere irritants. It celebrates the fact that its prime landscapes are more appreciated and (despite too many theme parks and roundabouts) better protected than ever before. The joy is that the doom and standardisation forecast by the previous generation of travel writers have decidedly not come to pass and that some of the follies of the 1950s and 1960s are being corrected.
Number of pages: 700
Date of publication: 30/01/2005
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