This saga of a working class family battling to build a life in a small Cumbrian town immediately after the Second World War speaks for a whole generation trying to adjust to the hopes and frustrations of post war living. What sets it apart from most family sagas is its remarkable authenticity and emotional honesty. You'll find this a totally enjoyable and richly rewarding read - Bragg at his best and not to be missed.
Testing himself. In the Scouts. In school. Though he had blankings and an overgrasping nervousness that could misfire, he wanted the tests, the tests made his head feel occupied. At the church youth club, to debate harder, dance better, show off more; in rugby to rush with the scrum, disguising the fear of tacking under the puff of effort; how long it took him to do this, go that distance, tests.