These books you should read about England are not tourist guides. They are quite political and very enlightening books on everything from who owns our land (and how it affects political decisions) to how the corporate world has destroyed indie shops, and communities.
- Who Owns England? is an inspiring manifesto on how to open up our countryside for all. Most land in England is owned by the few. But digital mapping and Freedom of Information Act, means it’s not so easy to bury surveys and build walls to shield the many from the few. Guy Shrubsole trespasses through tightly-guarded country estates and empty Mayfair mansions, to create a public map of land ownership, in order to change everything from the housing crisis to climate change.
- Real England is by writer Paul Kingsnorth. A few years back, he travelled around England to meet all those whose livelihoods were in danger from the big supermarkets. Each chapter focuses on one issue: pubs, orchards, canals etc. It’s a really interesting read, and will make you depressed enough to want to boycott Tesco.
- The Decline of an English Village was first published in 1974 to great critical acclaim. Robin was a young writer born into declining village life, and of course, things have got a lot worse since then. In this book, he exposes the greed, political ineptitude and social/environmental indifference that is tearing small communities apart. He also addresses sensitive topics like farming, overpopulation and environmental degradation, along with alarming loss of wildlife.