A poignant and very personal childhood memoir of growing up in Cumbria during the Second World War and into the 1950s, from columnist Hunter Davies
Despite the struggle to make ends meet during the tough years of warfare in the 1940s and rationing persisting until the early 1950s, life could still be sweet. Especially if you were a young boy, playing football with your pals, saving up to go to the movies at the weekend, and being captivated by the latest escapade of Dick Barton on the radio.
Chocolate might be scarce, and bananas would be a pipe dream, but you could still have fun. In an excellent social memoir from one of the UK's premier columnists over the past five decades, Hunter Davies captures this period beautifully. His memoir of growing up in post-war North of England from 1945 onwards, amid the immense damage wrought by the Second World War, and the dreariness of life on rationing, very little luxuries and an archaic educational system, should be one that will resonate with thousands of readers across Britain.
In the same vein as Robert Douglas's Night Song of the Last Tramand Alan Johnson's This Boy, Hunter's memories of a hard life laced with glorious moments of colour and emotion will certainly strike a vein with his generation.
Hunter Davies was at the heart of London culture in the Swinging Sixties, becoming close friends with The Beatles, and especially Sir Paul McCartney. He has been writing bestselling books, as well as widely read columns for major newspapers and magazines, for over fifty years. He lives in London and was married to the author Margaret Forster.
‘He recalls his childhood growing up in Scotland and Cumbria in the Forties and Fifties, capturing gritty working-class life with humour and charm and painting a vivid picture of that period of social history’
– Press Association
‘A cheery memoir of the Forties and Fifties… In among the rationing and the bombsites, this is really a love story between Hunter and his wife of 56 years, Margaret Forster, who died earlier this year… What sets this book apart, though, is its avoidance of cliché and its determination to reveal everything that might be revealed’
– Daily Mail
'Ken Loach might have turned all this into a powerful social film, but the avuncular Davies sprinkles in so many cheery anecdotes that the book bounces along enjoyably'
– Sunday Times
‘Eighty-year-old Davies takes a delightfully irreverent approach to his account of his youth and his days as a rookie journalist. Food was rationed, clothes were utilitarian and life could be rough, but there was fun to be had from friendships, films, skiffle and girls’
– Sunday Express
‘Davies is a wonderful companion, leading readers down memory lane with great chumminess that will really resonate with those of a certain age. This book deserves a place on the shelf beside Alan Johnson’s This Boy as both are vivid memoirs of post-war Britain and testaments to the strength of women; in Johnson’s case his mother and sister, in Davies’s his mother and wife. Margaret Forster died this year. Her drive and intellect blaze fiercely in this book. A fitting tribute’
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