Recommended Read

David Long, "English Eccentrics & Their Bizarre Behaviour"

Books on the subject of British/English eccentricity are published and re-published in Britain every year. Traditionally, they contain either collections of many times re-told life stories of the eccentrics of the past, or the results of someone's original field research, meetings and interviews with those seen by the author as the perfect living examples of the eccentric behaviour. A very few of the authors are actually trying to categorise their subjects of study and to present to the readers some sort of a system which, in the author's opinion, may help us to understand the eccentric behaviour - from its roots and causes to the most varied and unexpected manifestations. These books may be seen as the most valuable, at least they introduce us to the particular author's approach to the subject where even the experts often do not know where to start...

Indeed, what makes us different from each other? Sometimes so different that we are perceived as the eccentrics? Is there a way to influence somehow this process, to ensure that our children will not grow too eccentric for our taste?

A new book by David Long, "English Eccentrics & Their Bizarre Behaviour", is an eccentric experiment in itself - being dedicated to many great and original minds of the past, frequently labeled as the eccentrics, it extends the dedication to the author's children Hugo and Ivo 'in the heartfelt hope that they don't end up the same way'. It makes one wonder why, and the only explanation which comes to mind is that the author himself travelled many long and winding roads of eccentricity..

To set the record straight, Mr Long warmly acknowledges in the very Introduction to his book the everlasting admiration for the eccentrics in Britain:

"Ostentatious or absurdly secretive, over-ambitious, daft or just utterly, utterly hopeless, eccentrics are loved by the English - which have a special fondness for their own. To us they are characters not crackpots, potty but in a good way (rather than merely mad) and whilst we might, if pressed to do so, grudgingly acknowledge that other countries produce eccentrics of their own... theirs we tend to think somewhat silly, whereas our own we celebrate as the very spirit of our isles' character and individuality."

Author pays an expectable for such a study tribute to the traditionally mentioned personas - Lord Berners, Lord Monboddo, Sir Francis Galton, James Barry and many others we all dearly love, but he also offers his readers an interesting and well systematised collection of biographies divided into chapters/groups based around various beliefs, professions, engagements and activities, common to some of the seemingly unrelated and absolutely random individuals. It is interesting to trace their differences and similarities, to read some unknown stories along with those we hear rather often...

The book contains a large selection of the most eccentric Builders, Inventors, Men (and the Odd Woman) on the Move, Troglodytes, Hermits and Moles, Hoarders and Hobbyists, Men of War, and many more.

Some of the strange but true stories include; Queen Victoria and her bid to help economise, she replaced all the loo rolls in the palace with newspaper - one is left to wonder if today’s hierarchy would offer the same measures in a bid to ease economic crisis; Former schoolmaster Ernest Digweed was so confident of a ‘second coming’ that he left £26,000 with the Public Trustee with instruction to pay to Lord Jesus Christ upon him proving his identity!

David Long, a writer and journalist since 1983, has regularly appeared in the National Media. An award winning ghostwriter, he has also written a number of books under his own name.

The book is splendidly illustrated with the amusing drawings by Les Evans and is sprinkled throughout with fascinating 'Did you know that..?'-type fact-boxes which makes it an easy read while travelling as well as a thorough study book on English eccentricity for those wishing to get a comprehensive understanding of the subject.

"English Eccentrics & Their Bizarre Behaviour" by David Long is published in 2009 by "Remember When" of Pen & Sword Books Ltd, Barnsley, South Yorks.

Pen & Sword Books kindly donated a copy of this book to the library of the Eccentric Club and offered our members a discount of 20% from the recommended price of the book (RRP: £19.99; to the Eccentric Club members - £15.99), to purchase your copy with a 20% special discount, please contact Kate Eaton at Pen & Swords Books Ltd: or call 01226 742 41 or 734 555.