‘The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain’4/6/2016
The American in Britain has written another book, this time a further exploration of his much loved adopted country, which was the subject of a prior book, “Notes from a Small Island.” He does not go to the same places, but instead he visits new sights while he tries to occasionally touch his plotted “Bryson Line.” This line, running from Bognor Regis to Cape of Wrath, is the longest stretch across the country that does not cross a body of water.
He stops at both obscure and famous places. He visits the area where he first worked in England and met his wife, noting what still remains and what has changed. He looks for the cottage where Eisenhower lived during World War II, which unbelievably was located next to a dummy anti-aircraft gun installation meant to draw German bombing. He combines his visit to Stonehenge with a fine description of its origins and points out the good and bad of the many museums on his route.
Along the way, he notes the effects of urbanization on England, raising complaints similar to those in the United States. He explains several urban design plans, many of which failed to materialize. This is where the book almost devolves into an urban design critique. He compares the supposed benefits of a superhighway with the destruction necessary to build it and mourns the potential loss of a landscape if Heathrow is allowed to put in another runway.
But through it all, he exhibits his love of his adopted country. He does not always share this adoration of its people, however. He has, after all, a cantankerous soul. CV
Harriet Leitch retired to enjoy her grandchildren, garden, dogs, flute and to return to her love of books.
Jan. 19, 2016