Shortlisted for the Orwell Prize for Books 2017
No other subject has spilt so much ink as Britain today.
But whilst assuming a monopoly on national identity, a London-based elite has proven a poor forecaster of the political weather around the island. Sceptical and inquisitive, Taylor instead cycled all round Britain, interviewing and staying with strangers from all walks of life. Without a map and travelling with the most basic of kit, the journey revels in serendipity and schadenfreude. Island Story weaves histories, experiences and ideas to tell another kind of story: one of rebellion and retail parks, migration and inertia, pessimism and disappearing ways of life, and a fiery, unrealised desire for collective belonging and power. Think you know the island? Island Story will have you think again.
J.D. Taylor is a researcher and charity worker from South London.
“Impassioned, educational, lucid and fluid – Island Story is both a story of Britain, right here right now, but also of the past, and of discovering our future. If you want to know what Starkey, Fox, Bryson and Paxman miss, because they travel different roads – this is the book for you.”
“In the spirit of Cobbett this is a beautifully written account of a journey around contemporary Britain which is both political and poetic – a rare combination.”