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Written by one of the most brilliant and provocative historians at work today The Isles is a revolutionary narrative history that presents a new perspective on the development of Britain and Ireland looking at them not as self contained islands but as an inextricable part of EuropeThis 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. This is not so much a history of the British Isles strictly speaking as it is an extensive historical reflection on national identity It examines changing concepts of England Britain Great Britain the British Empire the British Commonwealth and the United Kingdom Davies has two primary concerns First he challenges any and all assumptions that such titles for the island nation at any given point in its history are interchangeable or appropriately used at any given stage of its history The particular focus of his challenge opposes assumptions of England sLondon s superiority His second concern regards what it means to be British He works hard to devote as much attention to Scotland Ireland and Wales as most past histories according to Davies generally emphasize England He follows the story of national identity from pre historic through contemporary times published March 2000 An updated version would already be welcome in light of 911 77 the second Ira war the 2008 financial collapse and continuing developments regarding the European UnionAs any good modern historian Davies strives for objectivity but as he moves into the twentieth century his political opinions begin coming through on issues like the place of the British monarchy different twists on WWI and WWII and most clearly GB s dependence on the USASpecific and complete historical narratives are lacking as the point is not a strict historical account but historiographical thought on national identity Even so it s good to have such an expansive story with such a broad view

review ↠ PDF, eBook or Kindle ePUB free Ó Norman Davies

The Isles A History

And the English LanguageThis holistic approach challenges the traditional nationalist picture of a thousand years of eternal England a uniue country formed at an early date by Anglo Saxon kings which evolved in isolation and except for the Norman Conuest was only marginally affected by continental affairs The result is a new picture of the Isles one of four countries England Ireland Scotland and Wales constantly buffeted by continental storms and repeatedly transformed by them. Mr Davies does a delightful job of bringing history to life in his clear concise writing style and attention to detail Rather than an endless drone of dates and figures this book is full of rich illustrations maps charts and even music notations which bring his subjects to life He also scatters through vignettes of the regular people caught up in the history he discusses clearly conveying the certainty that momentous events affected not only kings and princes but poignantly the people they ruledI own three of Mr Davies books and plan to own several

Norman Davies Ó 5 review

Is seen not as a uniue phenomenon but as similar to the other frontier regions of the Roman Empire 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 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 British Empire. I m sorry to say I found this a big disappointment It starts off well enough the early chapters on the prehistory of the British Isles are very good brilliant almostbut it soon goes off and gets so progressively bad that in the end I couldn t finish it The problem is that Professor Davies hates the English and it really isn t possible to write a decent history of the British Isles if at every point you relish a racist put down I have read many of Davies s books and until now loved them all My disillusionment on finding that someone I have loved and admired actually hates me and all my tribe is therefore hugely upsetting Until the English actually arrive the hatred is concealed but the moment Hengist and Horsa swing on the scene we are treated to the poisonous invective of a seasoned Anglophobe It didn t have to be like this Jean Sans Terre as none of his subjects called King John was no a Frenchman than I am the Normans or Northmen were not of course ethnically French at all yet Professor Davies rubs his Frenchified moniker in our English faces at every opportunity And of course he hates the Church of England as an expression of English nationalism of course he would Davies loves all supranational non English institutions whether they are the Church of Rome or the European Union as the flip side to his hatred of everything Anglo Saxon I haven t been so disappointed since watching Edward I s Irish levies switch sides to the Jockinese in one of the battle scenes in the film Braveheart Ah Professor Davies I would follow you anywhere in your historical exploration of all things Polish or eastern European but in this book alas the cloven hoof peeps from under your Welsh hose and you show yourself to be just another chippy Celt


10 thoughts on “The Isles A History

  1. says:

    I love a history book any book really that makes you look at the world differently when you're finished with it I love a book even that stays with you long after you have put it back on the shelf and like a favourite friend you can't resist popping back to to look up something anything just to pick the book up againI consider myself fairly well versed in the history or as Mr Davies would say the 'histories' of my islands but that was befor

  2. says:

    This is not so much a history of the British Isles strictly speaking as it is an extensive historical reflection on national identity It examines changing concepts of England Britain Great Britain the British Empire the British Commonwealth and the United Kingdom Davies has two primary concerns First he challenges any and all assumptions that such titles for the island nation at any given point in its history are inter

  3. says:

    I don't like Norman Davies but I have to give this book at least 4 stars Davies is another revisionist historian but unlike most he gives good justification for most of his revisions and is a first rate historian when it comes to historiographical criticism I think all history students should read the part of this book where Davies savages the previous historical writing about the United Kingdom He obviously writes from a Celti

  4. says:

    A history of the British Isles and it's peoples from a non anglo centric perspective Many British people let alone

  5. says:

    I’m sorry to say I found this a big disappointment It starts off well enough – the early chapters on the prehistory of the British Isles are very good brilliant almostbut it soon goes off and gets so progressively bad that in the end I couldn’t finish it The problem is that Professor Davies hates the English and it really isn’t possible to write a decent history of the British Isles if at every point you relish

  6. says:

    I got this book cheaply 10 US dollars at a Half Price bookstore list price was 1999 pounds which is about 30 US dollars without any idea of how good it was I had no significant knowledge of the history of Britia

  7. says:

    For someone educated at an English school this book is a useful corrective to the history taught there I left having been taught nothing about the history of the rest of the British Isles not indeed pointed at any areas where I might study further for interest' sake He goes into the history of the Isles with a broad brush and the book was and is a pointer to further reading and understanding As someone who is perhaps gen

  8. says:

    Mr Davies does a delightful job of bringing history to life in his clear concise writing style and attention to detail Rather than an endless drone of dates and figures this book is full of rich illustrations maps charts and even music notations which bring his subjects to life He also scatters through vignettes of the regular people caught up in the history he discusses clearly conveying the certainty that momentous

  9. says:

    Everything you know about British history is wrong unless your name is Norman Davies The heck with There will always be an England according to Davies there never was an England The very idea of England is a whiggish plot And don't even get started on the idea of Britain But you should probably visit Wales if you have the properly reverent attitudeA clearly written and enjoyable one man's view type of history

  10. says:

    A good informative read hard to put down I have read Norman Davies before and have found him to be a solid unbiased autho