Outskirts

John Grindrod
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A captivating nature memoir telling the story of Britain's Green Belt, our national obsession with the countryside, and the author's childhood, for fans of Love Nina, Alan Bennett and The Shepherd's Life.
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Forgotten edgelands, furious battles, suburban mysteries - discover the secret history of our green belts.

Green belts are part of the landscape and psyche of post-war Britain, but have led to conflicts at every level of society - between conservationists and developers, town and country, politicians and people, nimbys and the forces of progress.

Growing up on 'the last road in London' on an estate at the edge of the woods, John Grindrod had a childhood that mirrored these tensions. His family, too, seemed caught between two worlds: his wheelchair-bound mother and soft hearted father had moved from the inner city and had trouble adjusting. His warring brothers struggled too: there was the sporty one who loved the outdoors, and the agoraphobic who hated it. And then there was John, an unremarkable boy on the edge of it all discovering something magical.

In the green belts John discovers strange hidden places, from nuclear bunkers to buried landfill sites, and along the way meets planners, protestors, foresters and residents whose passions for and against the green belt tell a fascinating tale of Britain today.

The first book to tell the story of Britain's green belts, Outskirts is at once a fascinating social history, a stirring evocation of the natural world, and a poignant tale of growing up in a place, and within a family, like no other.

"Grindrod's evocative and intelligent exploration of the green belt and its place in our national consciousness is part history and part memoir. He deftly weaves the two together, transforming what might otherwise have been a dry, technical discussion of planning and housing policy into a heartfelt narrative." (PD Smith, The Guardian)

"Grindrod writes beautifully about nature ... a lucid, evocative book, suffused with sadness and anger." (Lynsey Hanley, Financial Times)

"Well-researched and engaging ... It allows the reader to reconsider parts of the country that they might have taken for granted, and offers its own modest encomium to a part of England that seems under threat." (Alexander Larman, The Observer)
 

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Additional Info

ISBN 9781473625044
Publisher SCEPTRE
Format Paperback
Publication date 8 Feb 2018

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