Bloody Old Britain | Granta

  • Published: 07/09/2009
  • ISBN: 9781847080776
  • 130x20mm
  • 304 pages

Bloody Old Britain

Kitty Hauser

O. G. S. Crawford (1886-1957) thought history held the answers to everything. A field archaeologist, he later became a photographer flying over the Western Front during the First World War – an experience that made him a pioneer of aerial archaeology. An impassioned Marxist, it seemed to him that 1930s Britain would soon disappear, conquered by history’s inevitable march to world socialism, and he made a photographic study of everyday things – churches and advertising hoardings – as future evidence of how unenlightened British society had once been. Later there came angry disillusionment and a book, too bitter to be published, called Bloody Old Britain. In recounting Crawford’s extraordinary story, Kitty Hauser uses many of his photographs and penetrates neglected but fascinating aspects of British life and belief that have themselves become history.

[A] wonderfully captivating biography ... This is a most engrossing piece of work, written in supple prose that now and again approaches the rhapsodic. Kitty Hauser is driven by curiosity rather than idolatry. Through the tetchy figure of Crawford, she broadly illuminates archaeology's progress throughout the first half of the 20th century

New Statesman

Hauser has written a truly fascinating and unexpected book ... She has told an intriguing story about the way we can look at our landscapes and find in them the life, or lives, we want to believe in when stark reality insists that we are wrong


A delightfully written, richly imagined account of a remarkable individual of a type rarely celebrated in book form

Art Newspaper

The Author

Kitty Hauser was born in 1971 and has a doctorate in modern history from Oxford University. She has published two books, Stanley Spencer and Shadow Sites: Photography, Archaeology and the British Landscape. She is a Research Fellow at the Power Institute at the University of Sydney.

More about the author →

Kitty Hauser on

Essays & Memoir | The Online Edition

The Earth from the Air

Kitty Hauser

‘It takes another kind of eye, another viewpoint to reveal to us the truth about the world.’