The Isles A History PDF µ The Isles Epub /

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 is seen not as a unique 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 and the English LanguageThis 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 countries—England Ireland Scotland and Wales—constantly buffeted by continental storms and repeatedly transformed by them


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    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 before reading The Isles It is a work of great sensitivity at times iconoclastic sometimes witty often incisive invariably trenchant Considering the centrifugal forces currently at work in the United Kingdom reading this book with its lessons culled from over two thousand years of history helps to put things in some perspective starting with the concept of 'identity' Considering as well the vast span of time it covers it retains its pace its rhythm and its relevance to today's events There is also a fine set of maps and other appendices like timelines chronologies genealogies photos even sheet musicSo much of this book is about identity what it is where it comes from who makes it what happens to it over time In a way it is interesting this is such a treasured book to me as it does merrily explode conceptions of what it means to be British while exposing the debris of that identity to another that of being European To be 'European' is another identity or layer of identity that I respect and cherish Having lived and worked in countries that could not resist their own centrifugal forces and that span themselves to their own often messy destruction my instinct is to resist any moves to deconstruct my own country Having lived and worked on Europe's borders I see it first from the outside in and thus I see it as something of a haven something to be aspired to Again not something these days that many of my co citizens of this European project would easily relate toThe Isles is something of a balm to that feeling of being adrift or at least it helps to put it in perspective Far from being set in stone the islands that make up the United Kingdom have always been a site and source of innovation and inspiration to those who live there and I hope they always will be