About the author: Professor Donald Read of the University of Kent at Canterbury, England, has been active in the field of modern English historical scholarship for nearly 50 years. He is a past president of the [British] Historical Association. One of his particular concerns has been to use local historical sources as a basis for historical revision.2003 0-7734-6741-6
This is an autobiography with an extra dimension. It tells the story of a boy who began life in the 1930s on one of the big-city council estates built between the wars. The families who lived on these estates have been called a ‘new working class.’ While much has been written about the Victorian and Edwardian working classes, less has been heard about these new families, either from themselves or from historians. They coped with a succession of disruptive outside pressures: pre-war unemployment, wartime bombing, post-war restrictions. Donald Read, who won a scholarship to a grammar school and then went on to Oxford and became a professor of history, uses his skills as a professional historian to link his boyhood progress with the history of the time. As a result, this autobiography goes beyond the individual, combining frank personal detail with a wider and sometimes provocative historical awareness.