Change – sometimes gentle and subtle, sometimes shocking and violent – is the dynamic of Simon Schama’s unapologetically personal and grippingly written history of Britain, especially the changes that wash over custom and habit, transforming our loyalties.
What makes or breaks a nation? To whom do we give our allegiance and why? And where do the boundaries of our community lie – in our hearth and home, our village or city, tribe or faith? What is Britain – one country or many? Has British history unfolded ‘at the edge of the world’ or right at the heart of it?
Schama delivers these themes in a form that is at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and the wicked are here – Becket and Thomas Cromwell, Robert the Bruce and Anne Boleyn – but so are countless more ordinary lives: an Irish monk waiting for the plague to kill him in his cell at Kilkenny; a small boy running through the streets of London to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth I.
The first in a series, this volume paints a rich and vivid portrait of the life of the British people and their nation.