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England : Seven Myths That Changed a Country – and How to Set Them Straight by Tom Baldwin

9781526646231

Tom Baldwin and Marc Stears take on seven myths that distort our ideas of England and where the country is heading.

‘Challenging, forensic, compelling' Sathnam Sanghera‘Amusing and frequently enlightening' Telegraph‘This iconoclastic masterpiece is well argued and beautifully written. A thoroughly entertaining read' Alan JohnsonIn an election year when this country stands on the cusp of a change in government, there will once again be efforts to over-inflate myths about England that block out what's important in our politics.

Some politicians will talk of restoring an English birthright of liberty or the swashbuckling self-confidence to rule the waves. Others will yearn for the old-fashioned morality with which, they claim, England once civilised a savage world. Still will more look inwards to a story of an enchanted island that can stand alone and isolated against the world.

In England, Tom Baldwin, bestselling biographer of Keir Starmer, and Marc Stears, influential think tank head, unravel seven myths that have distorted ideas of this country and provided ammunition for charlatans or culture warriors from both left and right. Instead of vainly promising to solve everything all at once, Baldwin and Stears provide clues for how a humbler, less grandiose, set of ideas rooted in real lives can help fix some of the things that have gone so badly wrong in recent years.

They travel from muddy fields in the Home Counties to the ports of Plymouth and Hull. They visit the old industrial heartland of Wolverhampton, spend weekends in the worn-down seaside resort of Blackpool, then gaze up the gleaming towers of modernity on the edge of London and the dreaming spires of Oxford. Along the way, they speak with many different people who tell stories of England, including politicians Nigel Farage and David Lammy, campaigner Chrisann Jarrett, playwright James Graham and scientist Sarah Gilbert.

What emerges is a startlingly fresh and vivid picture of a country that belongs to everyone, or at least, to no one in particular.

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Binding: Hardback,
Pagination: 368 pages

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