Arthur Mee's Dream of England

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Arthur Mee's Dream of England

Arthur Henry Mee (1875-1943) the editor of The Children's Newspaper and The Children's Encyclopaedia, lived at a pivotal time in England's history. Born during an era of imperial expansion and confidence, he saw the trauma and upheaval of the First World War - reporting from the trenches - and the shrinking of the British Empire, yet, paradoxically, amidst depression and unemployment in his home country, he became one of the ablest chroniclers of all the good things in our nation's story, and an inspiration to a whole generation.

Mee was one of the best-known and prolific journalists of his day: a one-off original, an Englishman of the type they just don't make today. It is very difficult to conceive of any of today's journalists having both his crusading zeal, prolific output, and national profile. He was both a lifelong believer in self-education and the ability of people to raise themselves up by their own efforts, and an implacable opponent of the power of drink, reserving some of his most vitriolic and passionate prose to heap wrath and invective on the heads of those whom he saw as responsible for alcohol's ills. This new biography, originally issued to mark the 60th anniversary of Mee's death, examines in detail his remarkable output and what his books tell us about England and Englishness. Topics that in many ways, as we face the challenges of the 21st century, are just as relevant as they were in Mee's lifetime, perhaps even more so.

Among the themes discussed are:

  • Empire, imperialism, and the validity of patriotism
  • The King's England - our land and history
  • Self improvement and social mobility
  • Literature for children
  • The Nonconformist Conscience and the Temperance Movement