Friday, February 19, 2021

2. Peel's England by J H B Peel

I can not even remember where I found this old hardback. I certainly didn't pay much money for it. I do remember my motivation for taking it. I felt that maybe a bit of non-fiction exploration of pastoral england in the 70s would help reinforce my appreciation of the context of a lot of the fictional books I read.  That goal was only somewhat achieved, not through any particular flaw in this book, but in my own inability to remain focus on facts and descriptions in text. 

I guess Peel was a well-known writer and commentator. He seems to be, at least in this book, one of those mild-mannered conservatives whose common-sense tone belies what we know today in post-Brexit england to be a pretty nasty jingoism.  Or maybe it was mild-mannered and has since evolved into the basic racism we see today.  In any case, the roots are there.  His real enemy, though, is progress and particularily the motor car and I am with him on that.  The entire book is him traipsing through all the regions of England, describing the scenery and a few specific locales like old churches or villages, adding tidbits of history, poetry and a few hints of the above mentioned politics.

Actually, as I think of it, it did give me a good broad sense of the various regions of England.  For instance, I finally get now that the legend of Arthur took place somewhere in the southwest, possibly even Wales.  I also think I know a bit about Cornwall, which is cool.  I knew a Cornish guy once and he had the black hair and an intensity of gaze, as Peel describes them.

Anyhow, that was perhaps not the best book to get my reading habits back up.  Now on to some fun fiction!

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