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A Short History of England - Simon Jenkins

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Author: Simon Jenkins / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 04 October 2012 / Genre: History / Subcategory: European British & Irish History / Publisher: Profile Books Ltd / Title: A Short History of England / ISBN 13: 9781846684630 / ISBN 10: 1846684630 / Alternative EAN: 9781846684616

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      10.07.2013 22:18
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      A fantastic overview of English history.

      If like me you had a history teacher who managed to suck all the enjoyment out of the subject, then you will find this book a breath of fresh air. Beyond the attractive slip cover of this hardback book lies a genuine treat. The prose is easy to digest, concise, interesting and relevant. The book also contains over a hundred colourful and glossy illustrations, some of them full page. There is a good balance between the pictures and the text throughout this work.

      The story begins - and this book is so accessible you can read the whole thing as you would a novel - with the Saxons in 410 and moves on continuously through the ages providing an overview of English history in 32 chapters, until it ends in a period from 1990-2011 which the author calls 'Thatcher's Children.'

      If you insist on a close and minute examination of English history then this book is not for you. It is a guided tour rather than a lecture. For example, Henry VIII manages to fight the French, fight the Scots, suppress the monasteries, and marry six wives over pages 128-142. It is brief - but at the same time it covers what you want to know, not just by a dishing out of dates and events, but by noting shifts in attitudes and opinions too. Historical figures are given depth and become knowable - thus, they become interesting.

      It is an appealing read and has certainly improved my own knowledge of English history and encouraged me to read around one or two periods that I found particularly intriguing. It can also be used as a reference work should you wish and at the back of the book the author provides a very useful list of 'One Hundred Key Dates,' a list of the Kings and Queens of England from 1066, and Prime Ministers from Walpole onward. The book provides someone looking to study English history with a good grounding in the subject. My daughter read it prior to starting her A level studies in history and found it very useful.

      A beautiful written and presented book. Would recommend.

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