Readers familiar with Cannadine's (history, Columbia) essays and book reviews in the New York Review of Books or the London Review of Books will know what to expect; others may be misled by the title. This book is a collection of reviews and essays of British history, people, life, and attitudes. Most appeared (in the journals mentioned) since 1981. The pieces are of varying interest and intent; their only common theme, Britain. Because they are generally reviews of many different works, the lack of focus is understandable, but not especially commendable. One essay that is not a review, Food , is marred by a reference in the last sentence unintelligible to U.S. readers. Frankly, Cannadine's reviews will appeal to those already interested in the subject at hand; some are pretty tedious. For politically savvy and highly literate British history buffs who like long book reviews on diverse subjects.-- Katharine Galloway Garstka, Intergraph Corp., Huntsville, Ala.
Some 30 essays on the characters, problems, styles and ideas that have shaped modern British history. Essays range across political, economic, social and cultural spheres and address such issues as aspirations of British royalty, ambitions of politicians, and how England's traditions of royal pageantry were created over the past century. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)