This is a wonderful book that is honest and poignant. It interweaves memoir and polemic in a call to arms. The book is set in the Great Depression.
Harry Leslie Smith is a great British stalwart. He is a survivor of the Great Depression, a Second World War veteran, a lifelong Labour supporter and a proud Yorkshire man.
Harry’s life has straddled two centuries. As a young man, he witnessed a country in crisis with no healthcare, no relief for the poor and a huge economic gulf between the north and south.
Now that he is in his nineties, Harry wanders through the streets of his youth and wonders whether anything has actually changed.
Britain is at its most dangerous juncture since Harry’s youth–the NHS and social housing are in crisis, while Brexit and an unpopular government continue to divide the country — but there is hope.
Just as Clement Attlee provided hope in 1945, Labour’s triumphant comeback of June 2017 is a beacon of light in this season of discontent. Britain has overcome adversity before and will do so again–a new nation will be forged from the ashes of grave injustice.
I love this book! Although it is sad in places, it is pays homage to the boundless grace and resilience of the human spirit. What a triumph of a book!
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth