This Was My England
About The Author
Robert Corfe is a prolific author of books on political science and social issues, and in addition to the present work, he has produced 3 other autobiographical titles under different pseudonyms, viz., The Girl From East Berlin a romantic docu-drama of the East-West divide (James Furner), an epic novel relating his love affair in the old German capital at the end of the 1950s; My Conflict With a Soviet Spy the story of the Ron Evans spy case (Eddie Miller), based on his adventures in Scandinavia in the 1960s; and, Death in Riyadh dark secrets in hidden Arabia (Geoff Carter), based on his experiences as a businessman in the Middle East in the 1980s. He has also been active in different spheres of public life, and in 1987 he founded The Campaign For Industry in promoting home-based productivity. This Was My England records the tempestuous first 18 years of his life, and the horrific experiences both at home and at boarding school. It then describes his love for a film star during his teens, and the long-term destructive consequences of this impossible obsession, which led to gestures of suicide and murder. The book is also an interesting social document in that it presents an array of colourful and eccentric characters, and vividly portrays the attitudes and private life of a long past epoch in the 1940s and start of the 50s.
About The Book
Few books evoke the private life of an era, as it was in England between 1935 and 1954, with such clarity, as this autobiography. And it is only through such an intimate memoir that the hidden aspects of an age – so often lost to future generations – may be revealed as social history.
It comprises the “confession” of a prolific author, with all his thoughts and feelings, and no attempt to conceal his faults or failings. Whilst his happiest memories were as an evacuee at his grandparents’ home in Wiltshire, his return to the dreaded London home brought brutal corporal punishment and periods of misery in a rigidly religious environment. But on being sent to a well-established boarding school, he went unknowingly from the frying pan to the fire, where he endured horrifying ritual torture and permanent physical injuries.
He subsequently went to a North London public school, and although was never to be bullied again, was witness to, and partly implicated in anti-Semitism as a pre-teenager at the time of the British-Israeli conflict in Palestine. He was to complete his formal education in a liberal co-educational school in Hampstead under the inspiration and sound values of a brilliant teaching staff.
During his mid-teenage years, he was involved in a hopeless and self-destructive love for a film star, eventually leading to gestures – if not attempts – at suicide and murder, and this led inevitably to the disruption of his formal academic achievement. The psychological crisis led to a split between two sides of his family as to his future direction at the end of full-time education.
The book could not have been written unless the author had kept a detailed journal and diaries which were recovered from an attic, and read for the first time after a period of 60 years. The narrative which is filled with humour and ironic observations, and a host of colourful characters, concludes with a description of his life in an old-established solicitors’ office. It is only in these final chapters, prior to National Service, that he began to regain his sanity.