A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3000 BC-AD 1603 v. 1
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A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3000 BC-AD 1603 v. 1 : At the Edge of the World? 3000 BC-AD 1603

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Description

Change - sometimes gentle and subtle, sometimes shocking and violent - is the dynamic of Simon Schama's unapologetically personal and grippingly written history of Britain, especially the changes that wash over custom and habit, transforming our loyalties. What makes or breaks a nation? To whom do we give our allegiance and why? And where do the boundaries of our community lie - in our hearth and home, our village or city, tribe or faith? What is Britain - one country or many? Has British history unfolded 'at the edge of the world' or right at the heart of it? Schama delivers these themes in a form that is at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and the wicked are here - Becket and Thomas Cromwell, Robert the Bruce and Anne Boleyn - but so are countless more ordinary lives: an Irish monk waiting for the plague to kill him in his cell at Kilkenny; a small boy running through the streets of London to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth I. The first in a series, this volume paints a rich and vivid portrait of the life of the British people and their nation.show more

Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 150 x 224 x 30mm | 598.74g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • The Bodley Head Ltd
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Illustrations (some col.), col. maps, ports. (some col.)
  • 1847920128
  • 9781847920126
  • 66,918

Review quote

"An exciting, intensely seductive presentation of history." Independent "He remains a master storyteller, admirably and sceptically well read in current revisionist histories, and a wonderful guide to a new history of Britain." The Times "A History of Britain, its text supplemented by wonderful illustrations, affords the rare joy of witnessing a scholar at the peak of his powers convincing the reader that he has a cracking good tale to tell and that he is loving every minute of the telling." Literary Review "Simon Schama's A History of Britain is far more than the book of the TV series... The book is far richer and fuller, covering a huge span so economically that there is room for plenty of arresting detail... It is the sort of vivid history that keeps you awake." Daily Mail "Remarkably vivid pictures... A decade on, Schama's study remains a terrific read." -- Paul Lay History Todayshow more

About Simon Schama

Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University. His award-winning books, translated into fifteen languages, include Citizens, Landscape and Memory, Rembrandt's Eyes, A History of Britain, The Power of Art, Rough Crossings, The American Future and The Story of the Jews. His art columns for the New Yorker won the National Magazine Award for criticism and his journalism has appeared regularly in the Guardian and the Financial Times where he is Contributing Editor. He has written and presented forty films for BBC2 on subjects as diverse as Tolstoy, American politics and John Donne and won an Emmy for The Power of Art.show more

Review Text

"An exciting, intensely seductive presentation of history."show more

Back cover copy

'History clings tight but it also kicks loose,' writes Simon Schama at the outset of this, the first book in his three-volume journey into Britain's past. 'Disruption as much as persistence is its proper subject. So although the great theme of British history seen from the twentieth century is endurance, its counter-point, seen from the twenty-first, must be alteration.' Change - sometimes gentle and subtle, sometimes shocking and violent - is the dynamic of Schama's unapologetically personal and grippingly written history, especially the changes that wash over custom and habit, transforming our loyalties. At the heart of this history lie questions of compelling importance for Britain's future as well as its past: what makes or breaks a nation? To whom do we give our allegiance and why? And where do the boundaries of our community lie - in our hearth and home, our village or city, tribe or faith? What is Britain - one country or many? Has British history unfolded 'at the edge of the world' or right at the heart of it? Schama delivers these themes in a form that is at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and the wicked are here - Becket and Thomas Cromwell, Robert the Bruce and Anne Boleyn - but so are countless more ordinary lives: an Irish monk waiting for the plague to kill him in his cell at Kilkenny; a small boy running through the streets of London to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth I. They are all caught on the rich and teeming canvas on which Schama paints his brilliant portrait of the life of the British people: 'for in the end, history, especially British history with its succession of thrilling illuminations, should be, as all her most accomplished narrators have promised, not just instruction but pleasure.' 'Schama has a masterly ability to conjure up character and vivify conflict' Ben Rogers, Financial Timesshow more

Rating details

2,116 ratings
4.05 out of 5 stars
5 33% (704)
4 44% (933)
3 19% (403)
2 3% (53)
1 1% (23)
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