The Way We Were:
Omnibus Edition incorporating "Over my Shoulder" and "Another's War"
144 pages, Paperback, 146mm x 208mm.
Published by Leonie Press May 1998.
Price: £ 7.99     UK Postage and Packing:
The Mayor of Crewe saved young Les Cooper's impoverished father from the workhouse when he returned from the trenches after the First World War. Little was the lad to know when he left the Borough School at 14 that he would one day hold the same office.
The author spent all his working life in Crewe Railway Works and his books portray everyday life from the late 1920s until the end of the Second World War. The Crewe he describes has gone for ever - especially the vast and sometimes hellish Works which dominated the centre of the town and the lives of its inhabitants. The first book, Over My Shoulder, is written in autobiographical style through the eyes of a child and teenager experiencing the Depression at first hand.
Another's War is a semi-autobiographical look at the life of a young man growing up in a provincial railway town during the Second World War. Against a backdrop of world events, it tells what it was like to be an apprentice in a reserved occupation and to endure the air raids on Crewe. The book contains rare photographs of bomb damage in the town, loaned by the Cheshire Constabulary archives.
The settings in both works are described vividly and the characters are real people, though many names have been changed.
These two books were originally printed and published separately in 1996 by Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council and sold in aid of Cllr Cooper's Mayor's Charity. They sold out rapidly and are now published in a Léonie Press omnibus edition by their original editor and page designer, Anne Loader. The cover of this edition is illustrated by Patricia Kelsall.
The photographs reproduced in the two books show parts of Crewe and district which have changed for ever. Most of them were taken by the author but some were provided by his friends.