Change - sometimes gentle and subtle sometimes shocking and violent - is the dynamic of Schama's unapologetically personal, grippingly written history, especially the changes that wash over custom and habit, transforming our loyalties. At the heart of his history lies a question of compelling importance for our future as well as our past: what makes or breaks a nation: to whom we give our allegiance and why ? And where do the boundaries of our community lie - in our hearth and home, our village oor city, tribe or faith ? What is Britain, one country or many, one culture or several ? has British history unfolded "at the edge of the world" or right at the heart of it ? All these themes are delivered to the reader in the stories which Schama loves to tell, and in a form that is at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and wicked are all here - Becket and Thomas Cromwell, Robert the Bruce and Ann 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 throgh the streets of Londonn to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth I.
They are all caught on the rich and teeming canvas onwhich Schama paints his brilliant portrait of the life of our people "for in the end, history, especially British history with its sucession of thrilling illuminations, should be , as all her most accomplished narrators have promised, not just instruction but pleasure
Winner of WH Smith Book Awards (General Knowledge) 2001.
Winner of WH Smith Book Awards: General Knowledge 2001.
Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University in New York. His publications include Patriots and Liberators, which won the 1989 Yorkshire Post Award for Non-Fiction, Dead Certainties, Landscape Eyes and the History of Britain series. Simon Schama was art critic for the New Yorker from 1995 to 1998, and was awarded a C.B.E. in the 2001 New Year's Honours List.