Books > Real England
'Real England is a watershed study, a crucially important book; the most significant account of today's England I have read ... Kingsnorth is drawing the battle-lines of a new politics.'
The Independent. Read in full
‘Shocking ... Kingsnorth travels around England, assessing its ruin ... pubs are being ruined by vast brewing companies. Town centres are being stripped of their individuality by predatory supermarkets. Retail parks and shopping plazas are destroying communities. Kingsnorth meets people whose lives are being blighted by bland corporate values - the stallholders and publicans and shopkeepers whose jobs are hanging by a thread. Meanwhile, the Thing looms - the grinning corporate culture of "leisure", and expensive cups of coffee, and apartment complexes, and piped music, and apples that are all the same size ... excellent.'
The Guardian. Read in full
'An important book, at no point dull thanks to its cast of colourful characters ... It reminds me of Larkin's poem Going, going, in which "The shadows, the meadows, the lanes" are replaced with "concrete and tyres ... And split-level shopping." This time it is Starbucks and Tesco, and more specifically globalisation, that is transforming our communities and robbing us of our identity ... It is a call to arms, a reminder that if we don't like what is happening, we should take action'
The Times. Read in full
'Kingsnorth makes his most interesting points in the final pages. If the
English are, “uniquely among European nations ... becoming almost a decultured people”, some of the reasons are political. Devolution in Scotland (particularly) and Wales seems to have brought about a revival of culture and identity in those countries; meanwhile England remains without its own parliament. More fundamental still is the strange reluctance he perceives among the English to discuss their own culture ... Certainly it is time for a richer conversation, marginal and mainstream together.'
Financial Times. Read in full
‘[Kingsnorth] is a campaigner, against uniformity, against the crushing of what is individual in the interests of profit ... George Monbiot says this is an "urgent, important book". It certainly is.'
The Spectator. Read in full
'[A] lucid, passionate, angry book ...
The corporate rebranding of England is presented as a titanic struggle between David and Goliath: it's not merely a story of small-minded provincialism, but of the mass destruction of our heritage, culture and character. And it's happening on a street near you.'
Metro (London) - Book of the Week. Read in full
'I suppose this book is a polemic, but unlike many such it is highly readable. The author has a great turn of phrase and ferrets out some truly memorable characters to illustrate his narrative. The result is a fine piece of old-fashioned journalism that is both original and throught-provoking ... an angry, timely and brilliant book.'
Sunday Herald (Glasgow)
‘Paul Kingsnorth has achieved something remarkable - a deeply disturbing critique of the destruction of our environment, culture and heritage that is powerful, well-researched and beautifully written.'
BBC Wildlife magazine
'The bulk of Paul Kingsnorth's book is a cry for his beloved country, an England becoming ever more inauthentic ... Kurt Vonnegut once wrote that what shocked him so much during the whole
Watergate scandal was the discovery that his own Government did not
really like the people it governed. Kingsnorth's book expresses a
similar sense of shock and outrage at the complicity of politics in the
destruction of his real England.'
OurKingdom. Read in full
‘Paul Kingsnorth is one of our most eloquent and perceptive writers on the environment and globalisation issues … challenging and provocative, [his] book is a wake-up call for all who love their country and don't want it to become even more of a clone of the US than it already is.’
‘This is an urgent, important
book which helps to shape our view of who we are and
who we want to be.’
George Monbiot, author of 'Heat'
‘Magnificent: one of the most important books
I have read in a long time. Revealing, stirring and
brilliantly written, it should be read by everyone in
Zac Goldsmith, Director, The Ecologist
‘A beautifully written elegiac. An understated
but still very effective polemic about the damage done
to our real quality of life over the last few decades,
and our collective failure to do very much about it.’
Jonathon Porritt, Chairman, Sustainable Development