In the internationally acclaimed Shortest History of Germany, James Hawes showed that the whole sweep of a national story can be captured in a short book packed with maps and graphics, throwing striking new light on the present day. Now he does the same for his own country.
From the Roman invasion through the Britons, Anglo-Saxons and Danes, via the Norman Conquest, the Anglo-French Empire and the Reformation, through the Civil War, Empire and the wars of the twentieth century, and up to the question-filled present, England emerges in a strange, new light. The world’s most successful colonial culture is often seen as a uniquely stable Island Kingdom. A gallop through its story shows that it is, in fact, a place shot through with ancient fault lines, locked into European history and overlaid for the past thousand years with that most English of factors, a class system like nowhere else on Earth.
With the Empire gone, Brexit looming and the break-up of the United Kingdom itself a real possibility, there’s never been a time like this to understand the real history of England.