A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy by Simon Jenkins

By Simon Jenkins

The heroes and villains, triumphs and mess ups of English heritage are immediately familiar—from the Norman Conquest to Henry VIII, Queen Victoria to the 2 global Wars. yet to appreciate their complete importance we have to understand the full story.

A brief heritage of England sheds new mild on all of the key members and occasions in English background by way of bringing them jointly in an enlightening account of the country’s beginning, upward push to worldwide prominence, after which partial eclipse. Written with aptitude and authority by way of Guardian columnist and London Times former editor Simon Jenkins, this can be the definitive narrative of ways today’s England got here to be. Concise yet accomplished, with greater than 100 colour illustrations, this gorgeous single-volume heritage could be the average paintings for years to come.

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Bishop Odo, half brother of William, seen dining with his knights became Earl of Kent. He was the probable commissioner of the Bayeux tapestry. William’s rule was now degenerating. He had lost his powerful but diminutive wife Matilda, whose reputed height of 4ft 2in was recently revised to 5ft on the discovery of a possible skeleton. His eldest son, Robert, had taken up arms and rebelled against him. Another son, Richard, died while riding. William travelled back and forth to Normandy, constantly at war with Philip of France.

They had already lost the protection of the legions, withdrawn from Britannia during the past half century to defend the empire, and had written pleading for help against Saxon raids from across the North Sea. The emperor was beset by Visigoths, and a distant colony at the extremity of the known world was strategically unimportant. The civilisations of the Mediterranean, supreme for a millennium, were in retreat. Honorius cursorily advised the colonists to ‘take steps to defend yourselves’. The fifth and sixth centuries in the British Isles were truly dark ages.

His rebellious brother, Tostig of Northumbria, had travelled to Norway to encourage the Norse warlord Harald Hardrada in his distant claim to the English crown. Hardrada was a blond giant in his fifties who had spent his life fighting and looting his way across the continent, traversing Russia and reaching Constantinople and Sicily. He readily agreed to Tostig’s suggestion and in August landed at Scarborough with a fleet of 200 longships. From there he overwhelmed a Northumbrian army at Fulford and accepted the surrender of York.

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