Faber Finds has reissued two of Ronald Blythe’s titles: his very first book (and only novel) A Treasonable Growth and his wonderful social history of England in the inter-war years, The Age of Illusion. In connection with this Ronald Blythe himself has written a charming background piece in which he acknowleges his debt to E. M . Forster but was too shy to let on he was writing a novel, let alone one under his influence. If you want a glimpse of publishing genius, read Ronald Blythe’s final paragraph in which he explains the link, improbable on the surface, between the these two books: with inspired perspicacity, Tony Godwin, one of the great publishers of the last fifty years, commissioned The Age of Illusion having read the novel (though he didn’t publish it in Penguin) and being impressed by its feel for the Thirties. How right he was. The Age of Illusion remains, by far, the most readable account of the period. If in doubt, read the essay on The Rector of Stiffkey (and if you want to show off, you will pronouce it ‘Stewkey’) about that tragi-comic figure Harold Francis Davidson, defrocked for consorting with fallen women in London and meeting a bizarre end by being mauled by a lion at the Skegness Amusement Park. I should point out, to check any fear the book is insensitively lightweight, the next essay, equally as good, in the book is about Jarrow.