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The Country Formerly Known as Great Britain
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In this selection from over twenty years of reporting and writing, Ian Jack takes us to a place of which there are now only memories and ruins—the Great Britain that gave us the Industrial Revolution, a nation that led the world in feats of engineering, a Britain of empire, a place of vital cities, each with their own unique identity, and a country whose residual presence can still be found in the strangest corners of the world. These pieces set out to deal with contemporary Britain—national disasters, football matches, obesity, etc.—but are drawn back in time, vexed by the question of what came before. In "Women and Children First," watching the film Titanic leads to an investigation into the legend of Wallace Henry Hartley, the famous band leader of the doomed liner, and a journey into the Lancashire mill towns of the early twentieth century; "The 12:10 to Leeds," a magnificent report on the Hatfield rail crash, begins its hunt for clues in the eighteenth century in the search for th

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