This is a terrific celebration of the 40 years since Milton Keynes was first designated as a new town. It’s a really good read from start to finish. It captures the texture and “feel” of the City, taking us to familiar landmarks like Bletchley Park, roundabouts and concrete cows while uncovering some of the little known territories, the hidden “underbelly” that makes Milton Keynes tick.
What I like is that it doesn’t take everything at face value but is critical and challenges some of the common perceptions. Why do people like Milton Keynes? What makes them choose to live here and stay here? These and many other questions are interrogated in this very personal social perspective from an ex-Londoner who has now chosen to adopt Milton Keynes as her home town.
When friends come to visit me, this is the memento I shall buy for them to take back to their homes to remember their time here.
Pat Swell (now former) Strategic Director, Milton Keynes Theatre & Gallery Company
As one of those people actually resident in this area before Milton Keynes was designated, I read this book with extreme interest. Much that has been written about Milton Keynes over the years tends to concentrate too much on the built environment and consequently misses out on the real sense of community that can be found just below the surface. Susan Popoola’s book celebrates all that is good in terms of diversity and achievements, whilst recognising and challenging the problem areas such as inequality and deprivation. The format is very easy to read; with short concise chapters that don’t necessarily need to be taken in the order they are presented. Each chapter opens with a useful quotation, some of which are quite profound. This is a very enjoyable read which I would commend to anybody professing to have an interest in Milton Keynes.
Stephen Clark, Former Milton Keynes Council Councillor
Whilst reading you don’t have to invest too much though but each chapter is thought provoking.
Love the idea of short chapters
Chris Hayter, Health Oasis, Milton Keynes
The book is mainly the authors experiences of living in Milton Keynes along with her robust opinion on various social matters concerning our great City still worth a read with some interesting facts thrown in.
I have dipped into some bits and found them fascinating and the last sentence of the conclusion is perfect!!!
Jan Lloyd, former Mayor of Milton Keynes
It is a superb piece of work on so many levels. Most important, many will find this an accessible as well as enjoyable read. Congratulations on the content and lay out.
Dr Michael Synnott, former Director, City Discovery Centre, Milton Keynes. Presently Researcher, International Centre for Governance and Public Management
Just wanted to say how much I enjoyed your book! Gave me a whole new perspective on MK!
Steve Rigg, Local Resident
I thought the book was lovingly written and it was interesting to hear about the character of the different areas and existing villages (and the people of Mk). I would love to live and work in MK in the future and it was good to hear about the community spirit in the city. As somebody who has lived with their parent/parents for 18 years it is important to make new friends and “fit-in” wherever I choose to live.
I also appreciated your views on young people, some of the situations you described (opening doors and not saying thankyou, etc.) I can relate with. Much more could be done by government to change this attitude and the media are responsible to some degree as well.
Susan Popoola, a human resources leader and member of topinterim has written a unique picture of her adopted town, Milton Keynes. It is extraordinary readable, affectionate and interesting and makes one want to go an take a closer look, rather than skirt the surrounds as so often one does when heading towards Cambridge from the West. Milton Keynes is an extraordinarily successful new town, so easy to get around, so convenient to London and other cities. And yet it is green and open and clearly for it’s inhabitants is a good place to live and bring up families, with fine facilities and high employment. For those not living in one new towns have a mixed reputation. Crawley for instance is a new town on top of an old one and is not a success. They should clearly take a closer look at Milton Keynes.
Each chapter in Susan’s book is headed by the most apposite entertaining and original choice of quotations I have ever seen in any book over many thousands I have read. And the style of each chapter owes much to the ‘telling of stories’ that come from quite another cultural centre than Britain and is all the more powerful and richer because of it.
David Pinchard, TopInterim
I just wanted to say thank you for the copy of your book “Touching the Heart of Milton Keynes”. I found it most interesting.
Phyllis Starkey MP (Former)
It is important to step back at times and reflect. Milton Keynes is great but deserves to be better. Time off to think of the past and to look to the future is essential and this book is a great aid to contemplate our fine city. Maybe in the next edition Susan could look into the poetry of the new city and into new sports. I recommend a review of Monkey Kettle for the poetry and korfball for the more sporty.
Darren Gray, Milton Keynes Council
This book is very clear on why Milton Keynes is an important and interesting city for people of diverse backgrounds. Tourists, budding historians, business people, journalists and even locals will find it as a concise source of invaluable information very carefully and lovingly put together.
‘a place of growing beauty and charm that truly has something for everyone’
It is Susan Popoola’s passion for ‘her’ city that drives the narrative, forcing the reader to ask ‘ what else is she excited about?’, and so turn the page to find out.
The reader is drawn into a tale of ‘roundabouts and concrete cows, of ancient settlers mostly marginalised and in danger of being forgotten, of a promising football team, of lakes and water sports, a thriving business and social community, a peculiar network of roundabouts and roads called a ‘grid system’, and more.
This is also a very personal book as the details are woven together with the robust opinion of a proud stakeholder. So, there are questions of Super casinos, youth culture, inclusiveness of marginalised members of the community and even the growth of the city into the future. A strong sense of the author’s experience of the city is conveyed right through the pages.
There are no sacred cows as the socio economic realities of the city is skillfully painted on a historic and infrastructural backdrop. Milton Keynes comes to life in this book leaving the reader with a definite impression of the town and further curiosity.
Now, I can’t wait to visit this fascinating city.
It occurs to me that of all those who will benefit from this book, it is most valuable to the city herself. Milton Keynes will be very proud of a certain patriotic author resident called Susan Popoola.
Nnamdi Dime. C.E.O. Dimensional Solutions Ltd.