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Mass Observation was founded by Tom Harrisson, Charles Madge and Humphrey Jennings in 1937. Its purpose was to create 'an anthropology of ourselves' in other words, to study the everyday lives of ordinary people in Britain. Discounting an initial pamphlet, this was the second book to be published. It appears in Faber Finds as a part of an extensive reissue programme of the original Mass Observation titles.

Subjects covered include smoking, pub-going and football pools. There is a section given over to some of those who had joined Mass Observation where they explain their reasons for doing so. To quote the original blurb, 'They include a London park-keeper, a working class girl in the North of England, a middle-aged worker in an armaments factory, a woman teacher in an infant school, a naval petty-officer, a bus-driver's wife, a Yorkshire weaver, a hospital nurse, a pharmacist in the East End and a steel worker in Scotland.'

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