The Boy Who Loved Books: A Memoir by John Sutherland - review by William Palmer

William Palmer

Ten-Shilling Notes

The Boy Who Loved Books: A Memoir


John Murray 262pp £16.99

Every generation thinks that it has a monopoly on virtues that were sadly and pathetically absent in previous times. The baby-boomers are perhaps more guilty than most, with their smug assumption that the world was born anew in 1963. John Sutherland, the writer and critic, has the advantage over most other memoirists of the period because the early part of his life was lived before the Sixties Enlightenment, and his story is told with vividness, wit and, sometimes, anger.

Sutherland was born in 1938 and lived both through the war and through changes in British society that have left the world of his childhood looking as exotic and distant as ancient Crete. Until the mid-Fifties, Britain remained far more like the Britain of a century before than that of

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