May 12, 2004

History of England: Volume 1, From the Earliest Times to the Reformation, by G.M. Trevelyan

This book was one of those little nuggets of gold that you sometimes come across while digging around in the dusty corners of the used bookstore. The cover isn't flashy, the font is very small and it was published in 1926. The writing, however, is good and the points he makes about the conquest of Britain first by the Celts, then the Romans, the Saxons, the Vikings, etc., is so interesting that I squinted my way thru it waiting for the next bit to unfold. His point about feudalism as a necessary step between tribalism and the nation-state which allowed the accumulation of wealth and the beginnings of the division of labor into specialties and trades is particularly interesting. It's also written from a pre-World War perspective when England still had an Empire of some sort and the British thought of themselves as a "race" so added to the history that he is writing is another layer of historical interest to the modern reader. Unfortunately, the book is out of print. And the bookstore only had this one volume published in 1953 by Anchor Doubleday. I managed to find the following 2 volumes on Amazon so I can continue the story, if my eyes donít give out.

Posted by Deb English at May 12, 2004 07:00 PM