Akenfield: Portrait of an English Village

by Ronald Blythe.

Classic oral history from an amalgam of Suffolk villages.

Akenfield

In 1966, Ronald Blythe had an inspired idea for a book. He interviewed dozens of villagers living near him in Suffolk, and recorded what they said in their own words about their personal histories and their thoughts on what it was like to be a villager in Suffolk in the 1960s. Blythe's Akenfield was a fictitious amalgam of the villages in which these people lived.

Although the interviews were confined to a small area of Suffolk, they tell us a great deal about what it was like to live in the British countryside in the first half of the Twentieth Century. Times were often hard—particularly for farm-workers. The book also contains some fascinating insights about what was going on in the wider world, and especially about the First World War.

Akenfield is an absolutely wonderful book. You should read it.

See also: Return to Akenfield by Craig Taylor

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