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Education in a New Society: Renewing the Sociology of Education eAlk They re all strangers all strangersYou don t make much money if you work with your hands You can t make the turnover But I have no regrets working so slowly I began in a world without timeMRS SULLIVAN 55 Headmistress You could if you weren t careful become attached to the children in a school like this Sentimental But you don t if you re wise They must do what they are here to do Learnnough by leven so that they are able to go on learning when they leaveMICHAEL POOLE 37 Orchard Worker He is simple people will say I went to work on the fruit when I was fourteen I never minded it I got my money and that was the main thing I grew my money grew It was nice to have itSummer was the best You d get the women come and give you a look You d torment them and they d torment you There used to be a regular procession of old girls who d bike up from Framlingham for the picking When I was sixteen one of these old girls came up to me in the orchard and said Let me see your watchI didn t answerAren t you going to let me see your watch thenI said nothing Anyway she could see my watch it was lying on my waistcoat under the apple treeI shall take it she saysTake it thenI reckon you want me to take itI can see you re bent on it I said so you may as wellSo she took it for devilry It was on a chain and she hung it round her fat neck the whole live long afternoon I wouldn t let her see it worried me She d walk by and shout Come and get itI said nothing She brought it to me about five before she set off home She put it over my head like a necklace and said There you are you young buggerI wouldn t speak to herThe next morning along she comes straight to where I m about to start Her arms were stuck out full length and she was all smiles She got her mouth on my face and my God she must have thought it was her breakfast or somethingI pushed at her I said Don t Look out he s coming He was too Old Fletcher the foreman She broke away but back she arrived later when I was lying on the scythings ating my bait It was long grass all aroundDon t fret says sheI said nothingThe coast is clear she says and comes down on me like a ton of bricks I couldn t see nothing but grass There was such a rocking I couldn t tell whether I was babe or manAt tea time the women went rushing home with their aprons full of apples shrieking you can be sure They shruck a bit when they saw me and a couple of them rang their bike bells My old woman shouted Don t torment him He s like his old watch not so bad when he s wound up Laugh You should have heard themIt was my first timeChrist that was a summer and no mistakeMARIAN CATER EDWARDS 50 Samaritan I m fond of the old widowed men who sit uietly in their houses Most of them aren t so much wanting food or whatever as for a talk I feel so guilty I chat my way through a uick cup of tea and they ve got a look on their dear old faces like Bessie here just longing for you to go on and on I skip the groaners It really does take it out of you to be groaned The folk of Akenfield circa 1910 had a basic understanding of the necessities reuired for a community to survive They could have understood and talked to people from a hundred years arlier and a hundred years before that and a hundred years before that and so on In the course of the past century that understanding has been decimated You may watch the that and so on In the course of the past century that understanding has been decimated You may watch the unfold in Akefield most fascinating of all is to watch the old timers talk about the lack of money when they were children and then the sudden abundance Where did it come "FROM WHAT MAKES MONEY WHO WAS SUDDENLY DOING THE "What makes money Who was suddenly doing the wealth creating work when the people of England became professionalized after the Second World WarI highly recommend pairing this with The Village Laborer by JL Hammond and the works of RH Tawney Beyond that the book is beautiful simply for the glimpses it gives into the lives of our neighbors removed though they be in time and space One of my favorite passages is the old man complaining he has had no pleasure in his life and then suddenly remembers all the singing from his childhood So I lied I have had pleasure I have had singing Absolutely wonderful book My copy is from PantheonRandom House not PenguinThis is my favorite sort of history book 90% source material and 10% commentaryIn the author s words This book is the uest for the voice of Akenfield Suffolk England as it sounded during the summer and autumn of 1967 It consists of dozens of statements by village residents of all types These are not interviews they are uninterrupted speeches and cover the person s life current vents village goings on outlook on life and whatever lse came to mind1967 was a key point in time to take a cross section of an agricultural community particularly in Suffolk where the choes of feudalism had persisted until just after World War I Until then farmers As The Land Holders Had the land holders had like lords with farm workers being bound to farmers in hereditary positionsBy 1967 agricultural practices and labor relations were a world apart from what they d been 50 years arlier but the older folks still remembered what it had been like Those memories ncompass not just the old ways of being and doing but the brutal conditions ngendered by the great agricultural depression in the late nineteenth centuryI have no idea how interesting this book would be to readers in Britain but to a reader in the US like me who is fascinated by the way things once were Akenfield is a precious glimpse back at the life my English ancestors might have lived I LOVE this bookIt has had me completly ngrossed I took my time because I didn t want to stop reading the tales of the folk of the 60s in a little SE English villageThere is so much of value in this book all the answers you can possibly want for where we went wrong as a society seen through the Excommunication: Three Inquiries in Media and Mediation eyes of the folk who lived through the changes the ones who appreciated some of them and the ones who didn t and the ones who were perceptivenough to see them for what they were good and bad and how they came about in the aftermath of 2 world warsFrom the voices of ordinary folk come truths we don t often hear in our society of Gender Justice expert speak What a reliefI guess my dream now is to meet the author he has done what in a sense I was attempting about Our times in my book Tales of Our Times The strength that comes from hearing people s voices as they lived it is invaluable to our learning of the past I adored Larkrise to Candleford but Arkenfield surpasses it simply because there are voices so storiesWhat I am reallyxcited about is that if we read Larkrise and then Arkenfield we are given a picture of England that wasn t written from the perspective of the wealthy or well connected and that somehow makes all the differenceBravo Ronald Blythe. Me paints a vivd picture of a community in which the vast changes of the twentieth century are matched by deep continuities of history tradition and natur.

Ronald Blythe Ð 9 review

I received an ARC from the publisherThis book is a history of the British village of Akenfield in Suffolk England as told through the stories and narratives of its own citizens Blythe interviewed 49 different people from all types of social backgrounds and occupations and recorded their words for this social history In 1967 the year in which the villagers are interviewed the way of life in this small village is changing from one of manual labor to mechanization Each person from Akenfield that is interviewed by the author highlights different aspects of his or her life in a forthright honest and stream of consciousness narrative Blythe groups the book into twenty different sections of the people some of which include God The Craftsmen The School and The Law One group in the book that made a particular impression on me were the craftsmen such as the wheelwright the blacksmith and the thatcher It would seem that with the invention of cars that there would no longer be a need for such talents because of the shrinking reliance on horses and wagons for transportation It was inspiring that these hardworking men decide to change with the times and find other uses for their crafts The blacksmith Francis Lambert age twenty five is a very talented craftsman and now that there are no longer horses to shoe in order to sustain his business he has diversified by making weather vanes gates and fire screens Francis is so talented that he is Generations and Collective Memory even sent to Germany to represent England at an international craft festival Francis loves his job which isvident by the fact that he usually puts in sixty hours of work per week and he takes a great deal of pride in his masterpiecesAs one would xpect hopes of scaping the village are From Notes to Narrative expressed from some of the residents but for the most part they seem content to stay in their small part of England Several of them mention that their families have resided within the boundaries of Akenfield for generations But there are also a fair number of voices we hear from people whoven though that have lived in Akenfield for many years will always be considered outsiders because they were born lsewhere Hugh Hambling age thirty who is a schoolmaster tells us that he was born on Norfolk He and his wife move to Akenfield when he was twenty because he found a charming cottage that the newly married couple could afford Hugh feels that the villagers are very private people and although he tries to ngage them in discussions he only God's Choice: The Total World of a Fundamentalist Christian School ever is able to talk to them about cursory things like football or the weatherIn the section on the school Blythe includes the administrative records from the teachers and headmasters which date back to 1875 One problem in particular that teachers have to deal with is poor attendance by the children of farm owners There are certain times of the year whenven the young ones are needed to be out in the fields helping with the crop and later when a truancy law is passed these guidelines for school attendance are still not nforced Outbreaks of health issues such as ringworm diphtheria and scarlet fever are also recorded and must have certainly worsened the poor attendance issuesMany of the details that the residents of Akenfield provide are like no other that one would find in any ordinary history book The orchard worker for instance gives us a detailed accounts of different apples that are best grown in the English climate and what the prime picking time is for ach breed The thatcher provides a lengthy description of the best way to thatch a roof and which are the best materials to use I found the section on the bell ringers particularly fascinating these young men are in a way considered talented musicians and go around to village and neighborhood churches in order to practice their craft of bell order to practice their craft of bell I had no idea before reading this history that there is such a fine art form to the ringing of church bellsThis is a charming interesting candid glimpse into the pulse and ssence of an English village in the middle of the 20th century If you have any interest in British history oral history or social history then this latest dition to the New York Review of Books classic titles is a must read Their voices jump from the past into the presentAnthropology grabbed me arly and it has never let go Why do people behave so differently from one another Why are they so similar too What would I have been if I had been born in Afghanistan instead of in Boston What would my life have looked like if I were an Australian Aborigine Why would I think what I think These and a myriad other uestions intrigue me like no others Orhan Pamuk the Turkish novelist often strikes the theme of I want to be somebody lse therefore I am This resonates very well with me Finally though you can only be whatever you are Travelling working abroad making friends among different peoples these help you answer some of those uestions but only in part Reading Foraging for Survival ethnographies village studies autobiographies or novels can also provide some answers When such books arexcellent you plunge into somebody Fragments else s world andmerge changed you have almost known what it is to be somebody Foundations of Tropical Forest Biology: Classic Papers with Commentaries else When thos A snapshot c 1968 of life in an anonymised rural community south of Ipswich Suffolk UK The village is given the fictional name of Akenfield It is largely told through the words of many villagers and people who work there but may livelsewhere interviewed by Blythe His introductions to them and his interpretations of their words and memories are always perceptiveThe people being interviewed cover 2 or 3 generations varying from age 17 to almost 90 so we see the place and hear the shared xperiences from many perspectives Some can describe a time when Victoria was still on the throne others born after World War II have a very different story to tellSome of the stories are memorable than others Taken altogether it is a vast pool of information for anyone interested in rural life in England 1880ish 1970 It is also xtremely interesting and at times very ntertaining and moving Having a puta of a day Mayhap the carburettor finally conked On the M25 where lse Perhaps as one is artfully manoeuvring between two lanes and so blocks both the other two of course being cordoned off for road "works whose stimated completion may or may not supersede the Apocalypse Manage to survive the road rage "whose stimated completion may or may not supersede the Apocalypse Manage to survive the road rage before you re road kill rush to work Is that Fat Nelly with your coffee cup AGAIN because she probably ate hers for breakfast Hell coffee is overrated anyway But wait the tights have won at snakes and ladders yet again just before the ten o clock and the blackberry has gone into lockdown no amount of coaxing is gonna get that baby up and running for the presentation Which you don t have. In this rich rare book— which John Updike called xuisite— forty nine men and women— a blacksmith and a bellringer to the local vet and a gravedigger—. ,
Anyway because the dog ate your homework And it only 1030 in the morning is life ven worth itWait don t dial a friend no one wants to hear your shit anyway Instead open up Akenfield obviously prop it between the uarterly sales ledger and put a few furrows on your forehead for authenticity This stuff is way better than therapy and needless to say cheaper Who can fail to feel assuaged and cocooned in a feel good miasma after reading about the totally crappy senseless pointless Helpmate exploited lives of Ackenfiled s residents in thearly 20c In as much as Art, Culture, and Cuisine: Ancient and Medieval Gastronomy everyone needs a smaller flea to pick on this here is the ultimate jackpot The sheer degradation humiliation poverty and ignorance on display are not without their wow factor Yes of course we all know it was tough back in the day but following this docudrama as residents recall their lives the book was published in 1960 had me hook line and sinker I now understand a little bit how anyone can watch Big Brother am I not as guilty in immersing in these wretched lives and lapping it all up in a show of gross voyeurism The lives rendered bare are too many to recount go read them yourself The message I take with me though is that if despite all their hardships these people somehow managed to cherish life and find happiness then I have noxcuse for sitting on the moaning mini chair Although I can kvetch standing up too Poetic strange charming ccentric sad admirable avesdropping on the internal and Black British Cultural Studies: A Reader eternal voices of souls long gone from a way of life that s as remote to us now as prairie homesteaders perhaps Not sure how Blythe got his taciturn villagers to talk so freely probably because it s about their work rarely their personal lives And collectively they never will complain about the present it s always the past that was so difficult Farriers farmers country doctors bell ringers gravediggers deacons schoolteacher nurse village fool orchard managerveryone gets a chance Read one or two a time then savour Unusual and always interesting Interesting to re read this book decades after I first bought a secondhand copy My how things have changed in the UK Or rather they ve gone full circle Published in 1968 when factory farming was the up and coming thing and battery hens were the norm chemicals were fine to spread on the plants that fed us and industry was on the up as well Look again in 2020 and it s all farm shops and local produce and organic farming ie back to the old ways Not to mention knitting vests for rescued battery hens The vet in this book actually seems in favour of de beaking for battery hens Cruel Well yes he admits it but it s all down to food production or what my gran would have called the Great God Mammon Blythe falsified the names of his villages and the people in the interests of anonymity but one wonders how much Gypsy World: The Silence of the Living and the Voices of the Dead else he pulled out of thin air as well since disguising oral history canasily lead to fiction as many other authors attest And how interesting that nearly all of them seem to speak with the same voice He speaks of classism without apparently realising he is guilty of it himself none of the upper class people such as the lady magistrate are physically described but oh the snobbery in his language when he describes the lower castes such as the 14 year old lover of a farm worker or the grandmother and her incontinent granddaughter An interesting look at England on the cusp I wonder what he d think of today Before Village was appropriated into an idyll it was a real place with real people and real jobs This book is about such a place It is a kind of oral history of a mid 20th Century English village mostly in the words of people not inclined to talk And it is splendidLEONARD THOMPSON 71 Farm worker Our cottage was nearly "empty xcept for peopleTHE BRIGADIER rtd on the church going to pot What you need is the "except for peopleTHE BRIGADIER rtd on the church going to pot What you need is the type somebody who will have a drink with you in the bar and who has the right to say to you Now look here old boy You ve been grizzling away
about your thel 
your Ethel her short comings but do you Crisis and Continuity at the Abbasid Court: Formal and Informal Politics in the Caliphate of Al-Muqtadir (295-320/908-32) ever think about how she feels being left alone all thevening while you are lining them up here I mean fair s fair THE REV GETHYN OWEN 63 Rural Dean Religion has a lot to do with where their families and ancestors are buriedROBERT PALGRAVE 55 Bellringer and Tower Captain The bells tolled for death when I was a boy It was three times three for a man and three times two for a woman People would look up and say Hullo a death Then the years of the dead person s age would be tolled and if the bell went on speaking seventy one seventy two people would say Well they had a good innings But when the bell stopped at ighteen or twenty a hush would come over the fields I remember this well in my own villageDAVID COLLYER 29 Forester and Labour Party Organizer Although I do not like towns I think they are necessary when one is young A town boy can drift into an art gallery if it is only to get warm and then see a picture and then begin to feel and think about art Or he might go to a concert just to see what it was like or hang around a big public library From the minute he does these things he begins to be a different person ven if he doesn t realize it For an ordinary village boy verything to do with these things is somehow unnatural The village people live almost ntirely without culture I was over twenty before I realized that classical music was just music and therefore all one had to do was listen to it I listened and at first believed I had no right to listen I felt affected But when I began to Going Berserk enjoy it I stopped worrying Everything I do begins with doubt and insecurity It is as though I am using a language which I haven t a right to useCHRISTOPHER FALCONER 39 Gardener The boy under gardeners had to help arrange the flowers in the house These were donevery day We had to creep in arly in the morning before breakfast and replace the great banks of flowers in the main rooms Lordship and Ladyship must never hear or see you doing it fresh flowers had to just be there that was all there was to it There was never a dead flower It was as if flowers for them lived for ver It was part of the magic of their livesFRANCIS LAMBERT 25 Forge worker Young men should always look for work which interests them no matter how long it takes them to find it No man should go in at morning to wait for the clock at night And people who want the money without the work spoil Come Hell or High Water: Feminism and the Legacy of Armed Conflict in Central America everythingERNIE BOWERS 55 Thatcher I get up at half past five of a morning I work many hours I get tired but I will be all right I suppose There are all these great boys in the house they keep you lively But you can t get into a conversation with a young person as you could years ago They just haven t got the interest They don t want our kind of Speak to us directly in honest andvocative monologues of their works and days in the rural country of Suffolk Composed in the late 1960's Blythe's volu. ,

Akenfield Portrait of an English Village