A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation

A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation

by Simon Jenkins
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions


The English bestseller by the former editor of the London Times: a concise, beautifully illustrated narrative of the rise and reign of England, from the Dark Ages to the Tudors, Winston Churchill, and beyond.See more details below

Overview


The English bestseller by the former editor of the London Times: a concise, beautifully illustrated narrative of the rise and reign of England, from the Dark Ages to the Tudors, Winston Churchill, and beyond.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Irish Times
“Simon Jenkins has boldly written a unitary, continuous text, taking “England” as his subject. The boldness should not surprise us. He is a stellar public intellectual and the best newspaper columnist in the business: the wit, dazzle and scornful elan of his weekly Guardian pieces make them required reading…A Short History of England is intermittently enlivened by his passion for political analysis; the approach also reflects his architectural bent, as chairman of the National Trust and author of several invigorating surveys of houses and churches.”

The Spectator
“This is traditional, kings-and-things, great-men history with all its dates and famous quotations in place ... it's jolly good ... Jenkins has a newspaper columnist's aphoristic verve.”
 
New Statesman
“Full of good writing and lively anecdote... Simon Jenkins's Short History of England, published in association with the National Trust, is a handsome book whose narrative gains strength as it goes through the Middle Ages and finds itself in the modern period. His account of the 20th century is full of the good judgements one might hope for from such a sensible and readable commentator, and they alone are worth perusing for pleasure and food for thought. Jenkins is especially good at analysing what he sees as the central idea - the balance between royal power and popular consent.”
 
Kirkus Reviews
“The book is elevated by the author’s engaging writing style, and he does a remarkable job with English royal history from 1066 to 1714, demonstrating how the individual kings and queens fit together into one coherent story…A broad, accessible history for those readers not well versed in English history.”

City AM(UK)
“Dip into a chapter of an evening and let Jenkins sweep you through England's history, painting a vivid picture of this country's green and pleasant land.”

Prospect Magazine
“Immediately accessible… His book is an entertaining and useful one, and if his ideal reader is probably a bright young schoolboy, inspired by a visit to some crumbling castle and keen to find out more about his nation’s history, there is nothing wrong with that.”

Publishers Weekly
A fresh treatment of an old subject by the British journalist and Chairman of the National Trust, Jenkins' (England's Thousand Best Houses) conclusion provides a standpoint from which to evaluate the whole work, where he writes: "England is losing the will to govern the non-English peoples beyond its borders, even those elsewhere in the British Isles." He sees an English parliament "in partial thrall" to its semi-autonomous Celtic fringe and suggests an English assembly as a counter, with a written code of rights and local democracy. This solution keeps with his historical account of what he calls the English nation, where martial centralization of power has alternated with parliamentary privilege through control of the purse strings. Jenkins shows how democracy evolved from the monarchy's need for tax revenues as leverage against the increase of parliamentary power, creating financial institutions like the City of London. His treatment of the modern era, and Margaret Thatcher's deplorable dismantling of the political institutions of "Little England," closes this insightful look at our British cousins. Agent: Inkwell. (Nov.)
Kirkus Reviews
In a slim volume, Jenkins (Thatcher and Sons, 2006, etc.) summarizes England's past. Beginning in 410 with the rise of the Saxons, the author divides the chapters into time frames, each focusing only on the important events of that period. This allows Jenkins to provide a comprehensive discussion of time periods and trends while still maintaining the brevity needed to keep the book under 400 pages. The author sprints through many periods of fascinating English history; Queen Elizabeth I's tempestuous reign receives only 15 pages. Jenkins doesn't fully illuminate the history, but he excels at creating an informative and concise narrative of England's past and present. The book is elevated by the author's engaging writing style, and he does a remarkable job with English royal history from 1066 to 1714, demonstrating how the individual kings and queens fit together into one coherent story. As the monarchs give way to prime ministers, the narrative loses some of its tautness, meandering through the last three centuries of English politics. Though it still provides a solid overview, it loses much of its narrative momentum. The author ends with a meditation on the reasons for England's remarkable success as a country and his thoughts on its future. Though obviously well researched, the book would have benefitted from Jenkins' picks for further reading on selected topics. A broad, accessible history for those readers not well versed in English history.

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781610392310
Publisher:
PublicAffairs
Publication date:
03/12/2013
Pages:
336
Sales rank:
542,959
Product dimensions:
5.40(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher

Irish Times, October 13, 2011
“Simon Jenkins has boldly written a unitary, continuous text, taking “England” as his subject. The boldness should not surprise us. He is a stellar public intellectual and the best newspaper columnist in the business: the wit, dazzle and scornful elan of his weekly Guardian pieces make them required reading…A Short History of England is intermittently enlivened by his passion for political analysis; the approach also reflects his architectural bent, as chairman of the National Trust and author of several invigorating surveys of houses and churches.”

The Spectator, August 27, 2011“This is traditional, kings-and-things, great-men history with all its dates and famous quotations in place ... it's jolly good ... Jenkins has a newspaper columnist's aphoristic verve.” New Statesman, September 26, 2011“Full of good writing and lively anecdote... Simon Jenkins's Short History of England, published in association with the National Trust, is a handsome book whose narrative gains strength as it goes through the Middle Ages and finds itself in the modern period. His account of the 20th century is full of the good judgements one might hope for from such a sensible and readable commentator, and they alone are worth perusing for pleasure and food for thought. Jenkins is especially good at analysing what he sees as the central idea - the balance between royal power and popular consent.” Kirkus Reviews, October 26, 2011
“The book is elevated by the author’s engaging writing style, and he does a remarkable job with English royal history from 1066 to 1714, demonstrating how the individual kings and queens fit together into one coherent story…A broad, accessible history for those readers not well versed in English history.”

 

City AM (UK) September 15, 2011
“Dip into a chapter of an evening and let Jenkins sweep you through England's history, painting a vivid picture of this country's green and pleasant land.”

 

Prospect Magazine, August 24, 2011
“Immediately accessible… His book is an entertaining and useful one, and if his ideal reader is probably a bright young schoolboy, inspired by a visit to some crumbling castle and keen to find out more about his nation’s history, there is nothing wrong with that.”

 

Read More

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >