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The Northumbrians Reviews

The Northumbrians by Dan Jackson

The Northumbrians

North-East England and Its People: A New History

Dan Jackson

Score pending

2 reviews

Category: History, Non-fiction
Imprint: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publisher: C Hurst & Co Publishers Ltd
Publication date: 5 Sep 2019
ISBN: 9781787381940

The Northumbrians have been overlooked by British and global history, but they've made astonishing contributions to both. Dan Jackson sets out to recover this lost history, exploring the deep roots of Northumbrian culture-hard work and heavy drinking, sociability and sentimentality, militarism and masculinity-through centuries of border warfare and dangerous industry. He explains what we can learn about Northumbria's people from its landscape and architecture, and revisits the Northumbrian Enlightenment that gave the world the locomotive and the lightbulb. This story reaches right to the present day, as this extraordinary region finds itself caught between an indifferent south and an increasingly confident Scotland. From the Venerable Bede and the prince-bishops of Durham to Viz and Geordie Shore, this vital new history reveals a part of England with an uncertain future, but whose people remain as remarkable as ever.

  • The Sunday TimesBooks of the Year
4 stars out of 5
17 Nov 2019

"This survey of the northeast is the very best type of local history"

Jackson records its achievements with justifiable pride. Yet his book, although suffused with a warm-hearted sense of local patriotism, never succumbs to chauvinism. If his love for the region is manifest on every page, then so too is a clear-eyed sense of its failings. Jackson, descended from a long line of coal miners, never leaves us in any doubt as to what the rise and decline of the northeastern economy could mean for those whose brawn was required to power it. A book of deep learning, displaying a knowledge of every detail of Northumbrian history and topography that is never less than staggering, it is also manifestly personal, and all the more readable for it.

Reviews

4 stars out of 5
4 Jan 2020

"eye-opening and entertaining history of Northumberland, from Hadrian’s Wall to Brexit"

Dan Jackson, who was born on the banks of the Tyne, is devoted to his place and people, but not blind to their faults. He admits that Northumbrians are prone to sentimentality, that there’s suspicion of individualism, and that the community spirit can sometimes turn suffocating and racist.

He acknowledges, too, that the contribution of women has often been overlooked and that even today’s high-tech industries are male-dominated. He pays tribute to Northumbrian women as various as Mary Astell (1666-1731), “possibly Britain’s earliest feminist thinker”, Ada Lovelace, “now widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer”, and Susan Auld, who designed the landing craft used on D-Day