Written by one of the most brilliant and provocative historians at work today, The Isles is a revolutionary narrative history that takes a new perspective on the development of Britain and Ireland, looking at them not as self-contained islands, but as an inextricable part of Europe. At every stage, The Isles connects offshore development with parallel events on the Continent. This richly layered history begins with the Celtic Supremacy in the last centuries BC, which is presented in the light of a Celtic world stretching all the way from Iberia to Asia Minor. Roman Britain is seen not as a unique phenomenon but as similar to the other frontier regions of the Roman Empire, such as Germany. The Viking Age is viewed not only through the eyes of the invaded but from the standpoint of the invaders themselves--Norse, Danes, and Normans. Plantagenet England is perceived, like the Kingdom of Jerusalem, as an extension of medieval France. In the later chapters, Davies follows the growth of the United Kingdom and charts the rise and fall of the main pillars of `Britishness'--the Royal Navy, the Westminster Parliament, the Constitutional Monarchy, the Aristocracy, the Protestant Supremacy, the British Empire, the imperial economy and sterling area, and the English Language. The book ends with the crisis confronting Britain now--the emergence of the European Union. As the elements that make up the historic Britishness dissolve, Davies shows how public confusion is one of the most potent factors in this process of disintegration. As the Republic of Ireland prospers, and power in the United Kingdom is devolved, he predicts that the coming crisis in the British State may well be its last. This holistic approach challenges the traditional nationalist picture of a thousand years of "eternal England"--a unique country formed at an early date by Anglo-Saxon kings which evolved in isolation and, except for the Norman Conquest, was only marginally affected by continental affairs. The result is a new picture of the Isles, one of four continents--England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales--constantly buffeted by continental storms and repeatedly transformed by them. Illuminated by the same clarity and piercing originality that distinguished Europe: A History, The Isles will become an agenda-setting book, one that will encourage a reassessment of what it means to be British while sparking debate about ideas of national identity and sovereignty.
Since its first publication in 1991, New Flora of the British Isles has become established as the standard work on the identification of the wild vascular plants of the British Isles. The Flora remains unique in many features, including its full coverage of all British wild plants, its user-friendly organisation, and its specially compiled keys and descriptions. This new edition includes the addition of more than 160 species, so that 4,800 taxa are now covered in varying degrees of detail. It also incorporates the new molecular system of classification based on DNA sequences. Furthermore, it includes 1600 species illustrations, rewritten distributions and an overhaul of the designation of degrees of rarity, with the introduction of a third, less rare, category. These revisions should ensure that this third edition remains the essential reference source for all taxonomists, ecologists, conservationists, plant hunters and biogeographers, whether they be researchers, teachers, students or amateurs.
Lytton Strachey’s acclaimed portrayal of Queen Victoria revolutionised the art of biography by using elements of romantic fiction and melodrama to create a warm, humorous and very human portrait of this iconic figure. We see Victoria as a strong-willed child with a famous temper, as the eighteen-year-old girl queen, as a monarch, wife, mother and widow. Equally fascinating are the depictions of her relationships: with her governess, ‘precious Lehzen’, with Peel, Gladstone and Disraeli, with her beloved Albert and, in later life, her legendary devotion to her Highland servant John Brown, all of which show a different side of the staid, pious image that is so often attached to her. Awarded the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Strachey’s classic biography remains one of the best and most readable accounts of the Queen who defined an era.
Hugh Kearney's classic account of the history of the British Isles from pre-Roman times to the present is distinguished by its treatment of English history as part of a wider 'history of four nations'. Not only focusing on England, it attempts to deal with the histories of Wales, Ireland and Scotland in their own terms, whilst recognising that they too have political, religious and cultural divides. This new edition endeavours to recognise and examine contemporary multi-ethnic Britain and its implications for 'four-nations' history, making it an invaluable case study for European nationhood of the past and present. Thoroughly updated throughout to take into account recent social, political and cultural changes within Britain and examine the rise of multi-ethnic Britain, this revised edition also contains a completely new set of illustrations, including sixteen maps.
Eminent Victorians marked an epoch in the art of biography; it also helped to crack the old myths of high Victorianism and to usher in a new spirit by which chauvinism, hypocrisy and the stiff upper lip were debunked. In it Strachey cleverly exposes the self-seeking ambitions of Cardinal Manning and the manipulative, neurotic Florence Nightingale; and in his essays on Dr Arnold and General Gordon his quarries are not only his subjects but also the public-school system and the whole structure of nineteenth-century liberal values.
When Charles Stuart was a young child, it seemed unlikely that he would survive, let alone become ruler of England and Scotland. Once shy and retiring, an awkward stutterer, he grew in stature and confidence under the guidance of the Duke of Buckingham; his marriage to Henrietta of Spain, originally planned to end the conflict between the two nations, became, after rocky beginnings, a true love match. Charles I is best remembered for having started the English Civil War in 1642 which led to his execution for treason, the end of the monarchy, and the establishment of a commonwealth until monarchy was restored in 1660. Hibbert's masterful biography re-creates the world of Charles I, his court, artistic patronage, and family life, while tracing the course of events that led to his execution for treason in 1649.