The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain: Writings 1989-2009

Ian Jack

The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain: Writings 1989-2009

In this selection from over twenty years of reporting and writing, Ian Jack takes us to a place of which there are now only memories and ruins: the Great Britain that gave us the Industrial Revolution, a nation that led the world in feats of engineering, a Britain of empire, a place of vital cities, each with their own unique identity, a country whose residual presence can still be found in the strangest corners of the world. These pieces set out to deal with contemporary Britain - national disasters, football matches, obesity, 'chavs' - but are drawn back in time, vexed by the question of what came before. 4.9 out of 5 based on 4 reviews
The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain: Writings 1989-2009

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Essays, Journals & Letters
Format Hardback
Pages 336
RRP £18.99
Date of Publication September 2009
ISBN 978-0224087353
Publisher Jonathan Cape
 

In this selection from over twenty years of reporting and writing, Ian Jack takes us to a place of which there are now only memories and ruins: the Great Britain that gave us the Industrial Revolution, a nation that led the world in feats of engineering, a Britain of empire, a place of vital cities, each with their own unique identity, a country whose residual presence can still be found in the strangest corners of the world. These pieces set out to deal with contemporary Britain - national disasters, football matches, obesity, 'chavs' - but are drawn back in time, vexed by the question of what came before.

Reviews

The Economist

The Economist

Some readers may be sceptical of Mr Jack’s left-wing conservatism, and wonder whether the economic changes and “rootless wealth” he seems to lament did not bring some benefits... But such a response misses Mr Jack’s point. This is not a political book (its subtlety is ill-served by its embittered title); it is elegiac rather than nostalgic... His contributions to “this unequal struggle to preserve and remember” cumulatively transcend journalism and attain the status of literature.

10/09/2009

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The Observer

Rachel Cooke

Jack would never wrap a decade neatly in cellophane, nor even, I imagine, a month or a week – and this is the great thing about his journalism, and all his writing: the way that he handles time. He is up there with a fiction writer such as Alice Munro in his grasp of its ebb and flow, his awareness that its strong but rapidly changing currents often leave us wondering not only what we can remember, but what we should... So, a rattle-bag of a book, in spite of its title.

06/09/2009

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The Scotsman

David Robinson

Not much journalism stands the test of being reassembled, years later, between hard covers. But for a perceptive perspective on the Britain that we're leaving ever further behind, Jack's journalism is hard to beat.

22/08/2009

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The Financial Times

Emmanuelle Smith

Some of the stories, many of which have previously been published in newspapers and magazines, are of obvious historical importance, others are more personal but no less telling. “The 12.10 to Leeds”, a chapter about the Hatfield rail crash, is brilliant investigative reporting. With time and perspective, we can also appreciate his musings on trainspotters and engineering that may not be central to the narrative, but add much to it.

07/09/2009

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