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Back in the Day: Melvyn Bragg's deeply affecting, first ever memoir Hardcover – 26 May 2022

4.4 out of 5 stars 81 ratings

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From the Publisher

back in the day

Product description


A masterly evocation of his early life in Cumbria . . . Bragg's book, the best thing he's ever written, imbues the overused literary adjective "piercing" with real meaning . . . I can't hope to capture, in the space I have here, this book's extraordinary geography, let alone its strange, inchoate beauty: the way that Bragg, in his struggle fully to explain his meaning, so often hits on something wise and even numinous (when he does, it's as if a bell sounds). All I can say is that I loved it. Somehow - those tears again! - it brought things back to me, and by doing so, it made me remember what's really important in life; how glad I am myself to be tethered to certain people, certain places. -- Rachel Cooke ― Observer

A memoir bursting with affection and gruff love . . . a charming account of a lost era, full of details and often lyrical descriptions of people and places . . . If it sounds idealised, it isn't. Bragg is clear-eyed about the 'harshness under the surface' . . . a fascinating and often moving portrait of a time, a place and a working-class boy who fell in love with words and made a distinguished career out of using them extremely well. -- Christina Patterson ―
Sunday Times

A moving portrait of a lost England . . . As a feat of dramatised recollection
Back in the Day is remarkable. The Boys' Own scrapes and japes - an apple orchard raid, a gang hideout dug into a river bank - come alive like set pieces from his beloved Jennings. -- Jasper Rees ― Daily Telegraph

Utterly captivating . . . [Bragg] bears his audience in mind, never writing a dull or self-indulgent sentence and thinking about and celebrating other people on every page . . . it's full of rapture and the joy of everything . . . there are darker sides to the story, and they too kept me gripped . . . Bragg is such a persuasive writer, with such clear recall, that he even recreates the excitement of a sixth-form English lesson. I got totally caught up with his falling in love with learning and knowledge.' -- Ysenda Maxtone Graham ―
Daily Mail

Wonderfully rich, endearing and unusual . . . a balanced, honest picture . . .The smoky, damp and introverted world in which livestock are still sold in the town centre, and horses are only slowly ceding to motor cars, is brought to life with subtle skill. Wigton's streets become soot-streaked theatre for a huge cast of town characters for whom the author shows a convincing, rather than patronising, affection . . . If any of our current political leaders wants to create a vision that actually makes people want to vote, they could do worse than prescribe this to their MPs as required summer reading. -- Richard Benson ―
Mail on Sunday

Beautifully written, lyrical and romantic, touching and tender . . . I enjoyed and admired it all. -- Hunter Davies ―
The Oldie

Rawly truthful and engaging . . . There is a blissful absence of cliché in this personal odyssey, which is at the same time a fascinating essay in social history. -- Michael Church ―

Disarmingly poignant . . . In other hands this tale would easily be the stuff of cliché, except that Bragg fills every memory and anecdote with both meaning and feeling . . . He has written some 40 books and this lovely memoir is surely the most affecting of them all. -- Michael Prodger ―
New Statesman

A wonderfully full and detailed picture of one particular place at a particular time and an evocation of Melvyn Bragg's intense and enduring involvement in it ―
Michael Frayn

A wonderful memoir . . . a truly great book about what it means to come from somewhere, to be of a culture, to be cultured not in the rarest but the most communal sense. ―
Howard Jacobson

He has an amazing memory for detail, but what shines through it all is his love for the place and its people. That makes the book very special. ―
Ken Follett

An extraordinary work - eloquent, charming, insightful, vivid, touching, and a true work of literature ―
Tony Palmer

Exquisitely penned . . . a love letter to his youth and to those who peopled it. A book you'll return to again and again. ―
Sunday Post

Melvyn Bragg is a broadcasting legend and an accomplished novelist but this is his finest work and an instant classic. It's an affecting and evocative account of his working-class upbringing in the small Cumbrian market town of Wigton and a vivid
Cider With Rosie-style portrait of a particular place and time. -- Best Summer Reads ― Mail on Sunday

Book Description

Melvyn Bragg's first ever memoir - an elegiac, intimate account of growing up in post-war Cumbria, which lyrically evokes a vanished world.

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Sceptre (26 May 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1529394457
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1529394450
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 16.51 x 3.68 x 24.13 cm
  • Customer reviews:
    4.4 out of 5 stars 81 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
4.4 out of 5
81 global ratings

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