From the author of 250,000-copy bestseller Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North
A New Statesman nonfiction pick for 2023
A Bookseller One to Watch
An insightful and far-reaching expedition into Englishness.
Stuart Maconie is one of the keenest observers of English identity. Who better to take the temperature of the nation at this uncertain waymark on our national journey?
Deftly weaving history and politics in engaging, conversational prose, The Full English is a love-letter to England written in Maconie's inimitable style. As we wend our way through towns and cities, by Megabus and Avanti train, we meet a rich cast of characters and delve into the seldom-explored crevices of our national psyche.
There have been classic portraits of a nation in turmoil before. Before Orwell there was Bradfordian polymath JB Priestley, who travelled far and wide. Priestley's English Journey is a warm, funny and tender forgotten classic. A huge and immediate success in its own time, it transcends its 30s origins to speak to our troubled present: scathing about vested interests, intensely patriotic and politically progressive.
Now, ninety years on, Stuart Maconie undertakes his own inventory of the English and Englishness, with Priestley's thirties itinerary as guide. How does the country look today, freshly unmoored from its European neighbours and still emerging blinking from the ice age of doubt and insecurity that was Covid? Re-energised? Hungry for change? Or moribund, dazed and desperate for old certainties?
Following in Priestley's footsteps hither and thither across our tiny nation, Maconie's crowning achievement is popular, timely and entertaining.