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Saturday, 25 April 2009

People with a purpose

I've just started reading a fascinating little book called People with a Purpose by Trevor Barnes. It was written to celebrate the 70th anniversary recently of the Teach Yourself series. It consists of a very amusing commentary on books in the series from its inception in 1938.

First in the series was Teach Yourself to Cook in 1938. Shortly after there was Teach Yourself Flying - which was recommended to people wanting to join the RAF during World War II. It included a section on acrobatics and how to do them but included a comment about this sort of thing only appealing to young men. I don't believe there is a modern equivalent of Teach Yourself Flying!

In the early days there was one called Teach Yourself how to Live which was perhaps the forerunner of the modern phenomenon of popular psychology. War time titles reflected the restrictions on all aspects of daily life and Teach Yourself Dressmaking featured ways of recycling old clothes.

I'm finding it really interesting especially seeing how the style of writing has changed over 70 years and of course the subjects covered.

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