After 3 long weeks I have finally reached the end of the enormous tome pictured above - (as recommended to me by GAW). I was going to review it according to literary merit, but then I thought I might review its physical attributes. So, to summarise, this book is so heavy that after reading it for more than 20 minutes or so, my wrists hurt. I would heartily recommend this book for anyone who is interested in getting into the world of professional armwrestling.
(word-wise, I found it to be a pleasant enough read, but it didn't zing quite as much as I thought it would - but this may be because I have been so thoroughly spoilt this year by the matchless prose of The Age of Wonder. The descriptions of dietary hardships and the planning for rebuilding of our shattered cities were the parts I found most absorbing, the sections on miners, teachers and the NHS much less so. The mass observation interviews become slightly numbing after a while in their quantity and their overall subjectiveness - after all, is an 'opinion' really 'history'? And surely with so many hundreds of thousands of quotes to choose from, you can probably find vox pops to agree with almost any point that you wanted to make. If someone stopped me in the street tomorrow and asked me if I liked X-Factor, my answer would be 'no'. - In 50 years time, would that count as general concensus? As I already know that my sister has bought me the second, equally enormous book for xmas, I am feeling a certain trepidation - a bit like someone who has just eaten too much turkey and is facing an huge plate of christmas pud )