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Long Road from Jarrow

A journey through Britain then and now
Narrated by: Stuart Maconie
Length: 12 hrs and 21 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (135 ratings)
Regular price: £23.99
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Summary

Random House presents the unabridged downloadable audiobook edition of Long Road from Jarrow by Stuart Maconie.

In the autumn of 1936, some 200 men from the Tyneside town of Jarrow marched 300 miles to London in protest against the destruction of their towns and industries. Precisely 80 years on, Stuart Maconie walks from north to south, retracing the route of the emblematic Jarrow Crusade. Following history's footsteps, Maconie is in search of what modern Britain is really like today.

Travelling down the country's spine, Maconie moves through a land that is, in some ways, very much the same as the England of the '30s, with its political turbulence, austerity, north/south divide, food banks and, of course, football mania. Yet in other ways, it is completely unrecognisable: highstreets peppered with pound shops and e-cigarette vendors, smoothie bars and Costas on every corner.

Maconie visits the great, established and yet evolving cities of Leeds, Sheffield and London as well as the sleepy hamlets, quiet lanes and roaring motorways. He meets those with stories to tell and whose voices build a funny, complex and entertaining tale of Britain, then and now. Written in Maconie's signature style, this is a fascinating exploration of a modern nation that, though it looks and sounds strangely familiar, has been completely transformed.

©2017 Stuart Maconie (P)2017 Penguin Random House

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Fabulous, edgy recreation of the Jarrow March

Initially, this must have been a simple idea - recreate the Jarrow March 80 years - to the day - after it took place in October 1936, and compare how the walkers fared to what he discovers on his own journey. Typical Maconie, you might think. However, Brexit and Trump hang so heavily over this excellent, thoughtful book, that it becomes - as well as an excellent potted account of the 1936 walk - an analysis of where England finds itself in 2016-17. As you might expect, he is no fan of Trump, May or indeed Brexit itself, nor is he a fan of Corbyn - accusing him, with some justification, of ignoring Labour's traditional working class voters, so typified by the Marchers themselves. Along the way he eulogizes about Leeds has little good to say about Market Harborough, but is charmed by the drinkers in an Italian bar in Bedford, and has other memorable encounters with multi-cultural England, most of them positive.

As you might expect, this is an entertaining book, beautifully read by the author (although be warned that there is some rather jarring editing that almost made me take a star off the performance - but I though to do so would be churlish and insulting to the author). I suspect the strong political slant may grate with one or two listeners, yet as always his points are well made and winningly argued.

Overall,Long Road From Jarrow is funny, educational and actually rather moving. Highly recommended.

PS. Any book that slips in a mention of Yes guitarist Steve Howe is fine by me.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Very informative and we'll presented.

Loved this thoroughly absorbing story. Very thought provoking and well presented in Stuart's own unique way. Well worth a listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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An Interesting Comparison of the UK, now and then.

This is another great book by Radio 6 DJ Stuart Maconie. Like most of his previous books it's a travelogue mixed with social history, peppered with personal anecdotes. Taking place on the 80th anniversary of the Jarrow March, Maconie retrace the steps of the marchers from the North East to London. He also discusses the EU Referendum result and the mood of the nation after the monumental decision. I've just made the book sound really dry, but please let me assure you it's not. It's funny, interesting and a moving tribute to desperate people in dire circumstances. Really recommended!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Charming and Evocative

There were times early on in the book where I lost sight of whether this was a then and now tale of English life with the Jarrow Crusade at the epicentre, interjected with feelings of Brexit. or a Brexit tale, interjected with feelings of the Jarrow Crusade. But looking past all that, Stuart meets some fascinating people, and recounts the story of a historic march. All while giving a detailed and enjoyable listen of how different life has changed over these 80 years, and not just on an obvious way. Overall? I loved it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Should be on the school cirriculum

As per the book's title, Stuart Maconie (the bloke off the radio), walks the same 300 mile route taken by the Jarrow marchers back in 1936. While he's at it, he compares then and now: the people, the poiltics, the food, the religions; and in so doing comes up with some pretty astute observations on things like Brexit and how the shabby, self-serving behaviour of modern politicians isn't exactly something new. Thankfully, despite this, he remains upbeat and warm and fascinating. Just the kind of bloke you'd love to have round for an evening of curry and chips and a trawl through your record collection.

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Magnificent account.

This has been a delight all the way through. Stuart at his best! I cannot recommend this retelling of an important part of British working class history enough.

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Excellent book

A very enjoyable and informative listen. I learned a considerable amount about the Jarrow march and a lot more besides

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The long walk

Well worth the read. Once started I read it until finished. Very well written and emphasised the effort needed by the men of Jarrow.

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Should be required reading...

Well, listening. If only more people had this consideration when deciding things. If you want to understand not only a major part of recent social history and how it has reflections in our country today, get this!

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  • Neil
  • CAMBERLEY, United Kingdom
  • 11-10-18

Classic Stuart Marconie

Anyone who has listened to Stuart on the radio will know his bright personality and charm. Stuart also writes very well understanding how to engage, inform and entertain the reader. The Jarrow march provides the opportunity to both reflect those desperate times and reflect on contemporary England. An more interesting book than the premise suggests.

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  • David W
  • 30-08-17

A Must-Read. England now and then.

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