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Modern Britain is a nation shaped by wars. The boundaries of its separate parts are the outcome of conquest and resistance. Warrior heroes - real, imaginary and a mixture of both - are deeply embedded in the collective memories and culture of the English, Welsh, Scots and Irish. Boadicea, King Arthur, Wallace, Rob Roy and Henry V still enjoy a powerful hold over the imagination. Britishness has had a sense of collective identity which grew under careful official cultivation during the global struggles of the 18th century and found its most powerful expression during the world wars of the 20th. Modern war was seen as the ultimate test of a nation's moral and physical stamina, and Britain emerged with an enviable record which underpinned national pride and a sense of superiority that survived well into the second half of the 20th century. This book investigates and examines the part played by war in the making of Britain, embracing the most recent historical and archaeological research.
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Lawrence James studied History and English at York University and subsequently undertook a research degree at Merton College, Oxford. Following a career as a teacher, he became a full-time writer in 1985.From Publishers Weekly:
This imposing history of is less a recounting of British feats of arms than of the creation of a British nation by the wars in the British Isles-England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Beginning with the Roman conquest, James (The Rise and Fall of the British Empire) proceeds through the Anglo-Saxons and Normans into the Middle Ages, and then marches through the civil wars, the continental wars from 1689 through 1815 and the colonial conflicts (mostly won, except for the American Revolution). The entire second half of the book covers the two world wars and their aftermath, where the United Kingdom assembled in the first half of the book exhausted itself (though not without valuable results) in two global conflicts and the twilight of empire. While a valuable summation throughout, the real splendor of the book is in its illustrative examples of the context in which the fighting men (and eventually women) were raised, and the impact of their experiences on the larger culture. Consider that a medieval knight's warhorse cost far more than his armor, that the author's mother-in-law had rationing brought home to her by bloaters (a fish) for breakfast and that residual patriotism accounts for the current seller's market in works on the Special Air Service. Less charming are the tragedy of Anglo-Irish relations and the outrageous racism of Allied soldiers in England during WWII. The book's comparative emphasis on ground forces will rankle those who believe, justly, that it was the Royal Navy (and later the Royal Air Force) that transformed the nature of British military power. While not for people who insist on narrative and not for beginners on the subject, this big book will be worthwhile for everybody else with an interest in history.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description Abacus, 2002. Paperback. Condition: New. Never used!. Seller Inventory # P110349114862
Book Description Condition: New. New. Seller Inventory # STRM-0349114862
Book Description Time Warner Books Uk, 2002. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0349114862