Fully updated volume charting 2000 years of British history from best-selling author Christopher Lee
What is Britishness? What allowed one small island group to rule a quarter of the world and, even today, to have the most spoken language after Chinese? What makes Americans admire the guts, traditions and loyalties of these island Anglo-Saxon and Celtic peoples? What is it that makes cynical Europeans and once-dominated Asians look to the British for opinion, literature, social norms and justice? The answers lie within the creation of British institutions, both Commoner and Aristocracy, during the past 2000 years.
Following the thought-provoking style of the original This Sceptred Isle, this new volume brings to life the character and frustrations so carefully studied by allies and enemies for twenty-one centuries - from Romans to al-Qaeda. Here Lee makes all the connections with institutions and changing industrial and social characteristics that even show us that Britishness is not exclusively British.
At a time when a major section of the British, the English, appear to be less and less sure who they are and who they are meant to be, This Sceptred Isle confirms who it is we really are.
Has there ever been a more user-friendly means to the history of Britain? - Spectator
A tour de force - Daily Express
A staggering achievement that is not only readable and interesting but user-friendly. - The Observer
Extraordinary and compelling history ... Amazing stuff: insightful, accessible and hugely addictive ... It makes you begin to understand your place in the chronological scheme of things. - Time Out
Thought provoking ... selective but objective, it interprets without being unduly opinionated. - Daily Mail
Christopher Lee was the first Quatercentenary Fellow and Whittaker Fellow in Contemporary History at Emmanuel College Cambridge and researched the history of ideas at Birkbeck College, University of London, with reference to pamphleteering in the reforming period from the Slave Act 1807 to the Great Reform Act 1832. His BBC Radio 4 history of Britain from Romans to death of Victoria, This Sceptred Isle and his history, The British Empire were both multi-award winning series.