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English Journey

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  153 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
In 1934, J.B Priestley described his journey through England from Southampton to the Black Country, to the North East and Newcastle, to Norwich and home. In capturing and describing an English landscape and people hitherto unseen in literature of its kind, he influenced the thinking and attitudes of an entire generation and helped formulate a public consensus for change th ...more
Published by Heinemann (first published 1934)
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Feb 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It was Victor Gollancz who commissioned two pieces of English travel writing from two gifted but very different writers. One was "The Road to Wigan Pier" by George Orwell, the other was "English Journey".

"English Journey" is subtitled...

"English journey being 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 by J.B. Priestley."

...which sums it up very succinctly.

In 1934, J.B. Priestley publishe
Jake Goretzki
May 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
Pretty marvelous - and I’m surprised it has gone out of print, really (especially in another age of austerity and of depletion of Northern cities).

Firstly, there’s its inescapable value as a piecemeal social document, capturing a time when Coventry was pretty, shop girls were starting to look like film stars and sausages were for breakfast. How little changes too: even in the thirties, pubs are generally bogus Merrie England affairs, culture is mass and trashy (he means cinema), entertainment i
Mar 12, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: group, non-fiction
J. B. Priestley can be both whimsical and nostalgic in this travelogue of a trip around England. He can also be thoughtful and contemplative, particularly about the less attractive aspects of the country, the factories, dole queues and the plight of the working classes. His viewpoint is broadly socialist, but he strongly supports individualism not organised paternalism.
This is an enjoyable and informative book and Priestley is a persuasive writer. If I have one quibble, it is that I feel he did
Sep 24, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-isles
A big book, an important book. A book I was sure I was going to find enjoyable, but then it side twisted me. I was sure I was going to be guided through England of the depression by a wise and avuncular uncle. Someone who would point out all I needed to know and who would take a kindly if rather forbidding attitude towards things he didn't quite approve of.
I've read An Inspectors Calls and The Good Companions so I thought I had some idea of my man. I was only partly right. The Priestley reveale
Feb 23, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: travel
ENGLISH JOURNEY. (1934). J. B. Priestley. ****.
Priestley was approached by his publisher to do a book on England based on a projected jaunt around the country. Travel literature has always been popular in England, but having Priestly write one would likely produce a work that was definitely different from the usual contributions to the genre. Priestly delivered, helped along by a liberal advance. The result was this book, subtitled: “Being a rambling but truthful account of what one man saw and
Aug 10, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, travelogue
just one of those books that you can return to again and again. Written as a travelogue around England in the early 1930's. I love Priestley's style and if some of his ideas and phrases might be dated and indeed some of his concepts are unsettlingly dismissive and offensive about certain strata of english society in 1933 that is not to be particularly surprising, writing as he was in a society quite different from our own and in a country which, between the wars, was still struggling and coming ...more
Dec 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my shelves for quite a while and I finally got around to reading it whilst on holiday earlier this year. What a fascinating insight into times that are really not so terribly long ago but yet so very different from my own personal experiences. I've always loved Priestley for his attention to detail, his very apt interpretation of what he sees and hears. I've always loved Priestley for his ability to use so few words to convey so much.
Monthly Book Group
There was universal agreement about the excellence of the writing and the evocation of time and place. He used language very effectively – a writer at the height of his powers. Sometimes, the text was genuinely moving.

However, there was much disagreement about the independence of the view and the accuracy of rendition. One quoted a comment that this was “a succession of moods rather than a succession of places.” Again, we could all agree that this was not an unbiased coverage of all Britain (om
Apr 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Priestly's influential and highly subjective commentary on a personal tour of England taken by him in 1933, makes for fascinating reading. Enhanced by numerous photos taken as close to the year of his travels as possible, this Folio edition of the book is a look at his views and opinions of the 'three Englands' as he saw them - Old England of "..cathedrals and minsters and manor houses and inns, of parson and squire.."; Nineteenth C. England of "coal, iron, steel, cotton, wool, railways; of thou ...more
Keith Skinner
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Because Priestley was such a humane, curious, observant man, qualities that played an important role in his success with novels, plays, and essays, he falls naturally into the role of travel writer. This book is probably less useful as a guide to the places Priestley visited — far too much has changed — but it should prove invaluable for better appreciating those places and the people that occupy them. It's certainly an important snapshot of a work-a-day Britain before World War II and a reveali ...more
Michael Moseley
Nov 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
A tale of a lost England one that we still seem to dream of even today. A world where the Daily Mail would have you believe that we were somehow much more civilised and O so very English. But, some of J B Priestley’s observations were relevant in the twenty first century.
“and that is the world of high finance. They I cannot help feeling in my innocence, that there must be something strangely anachronistic, crude, violent barbaric about that world; and therefore it is time it was brought into the
May 25, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: BBC7 listeners
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 28, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful non-fiction book, Priestley's journey around England in the autumn of 1933. He gets under the skin of each places he visits showing up the desperate plight of the British working man in the north. This is not however a grim book there is also much humour, we not only get a taste of the real England of the early 1930's but we also learn more about the book's irascible author.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was delighted to see that Great Northern Books had re-issued this famous book by Priestley, and they have produced a superb, splendidly-illustrated edition. I first read this book many years ago, have re-read it at least twice, and each time was very moved by it; and I am looking forward to re-reading it yet again.
Robbie Williams
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this. Wonderful travel writing, and portraits of English cities before the war and planning. Read it!
Jill Bowman
After a somewhat disappointing journey with Terry in a narrowboat I grabbed this off my shelf... I love it already. In my mind I'm listening to an audiobook read by Sir Alec Guinness.
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Oct 18, 2015
Robert Alwin
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Aug 03, 2014
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Jul 26, 2011
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Feb 11, 2012
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Nov 23, 2013
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Nov 19, 2016
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Dec 10, 2012
Mike Robbins
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Jan 19, 2014
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Aug 08, 2017
Mat Joiner
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Aug 07, 2015
Nicolette (TheRomanceReader)
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John Boynton Priestley, the son of a schoolmaster, was born in Bradford in September 1894, and after schooling he worked for a time in the local wool trade. Following the outbreak of the Great War in 1914, Priestley joined the British Army, and was sent to France --in 1915 taking part in the Battle of Loos. After being wounded in 1917 Priestley returned to England for six months; then, after going ...more
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“Nearly everything possible has been done to spoil this game: the heavy financial interests;... the absurd publicity given to every feature of it by the Press; ... but the fact remains that it is not yet spoilt, and it has gone out and conquered the world."
J.B. Priestley in English Journey (referring to football), published in 1934.”
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