England, Their England is an affectionately satirical inter-war comic novel
first published in 1933. It hit the right spot at the time and became a bestseller,
and has endured as a classic of humour, transending the passage of time. It is
particularly famed for its portrayal of a village cricket match.
The plot — if there can be said to be a plot — is set in 1920s England, the
book is written as if a travel memoir by a young Scotsman who had been
invalided away from the Western Front, “Donald Cameron”, whose father's
will forces him to reside in England. There he writes for a series of London
newspapers, before being commissioned by a Welshman to write a book about
the English from the view of a foreigner.
Taking to the country and provincial
cities, Donald spends his time doing research for a book on the English by
consorting with journalists and minor poets, attending a country house
weekend, serving as private secretary to a Member of Parliament, attending
the League of Nations, and playing village cricket.
The village cricket match is
the most celebrated episode in the novel, and a reason cited for its enduring
appeal. An important character is Mr Hodge; a caricature of Sir John Squire
(poet and editor of the London Mercury) while the cricket team described in
the book’s most famous chapter is a representation of Sir John’s Cricket Club
— the Invalids — which survives today.
The book ends in the ancient city of
Winchester, where MacDonnell had gone to school.
New introduction by Alan Sutton.
234 x 156 mm • paperback • 208 pages
A. G. Macdonell, (1895-1941) was a
journalist and satirical novelist. Without
doubt his best-known work was England
Their England, but the success of this
overshadows his other books, many of
which were classics in their own way. The
Autobiography of a Cad must surely rank
as one of the funniest books ever written
and Lords and Masters is a cutting and
hard-hitting satire with frightening
prescience, foreseeing the Second World
War as inevitable.
His American trip in 1934 is amusingly
related in A Visit to America, but his other
non-fiction is also powerful and
beautifully written, with his highly regarded
Napoleon and his Marshals
providing one of the best accounts of the
Napoleonic Wars in one single volume.
Sample pages will be available soon.
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