Books on the History of the British Isles, England, and Wales

June 10, 2022

941. Books on the history of the British Isles, England, and Wales 

Further Reading:

Winston Churchill Never Give In! The Best of Winston Churchill’s Speeches, 2004.

Winston Churchill was one of Britain’s most well-known 20th-century statesmen. He was also a master speaker. This volume contains the speeches that Churchill himself deemed his most important.

George Dangerfield The Strange Death of Liberal England, 1910-1914, 1935.

George Dangerfield shared his analysis of what led Great Britain from its pinnacle of power at the dawn of the 20th century to its greatly diminished status after World War I. He focuses on the political upheavals in the years from 1910 to 1914. The book continues to influence the way historians view the period today.

R. F. Foster The Irish Story: Telling Tales and Making It Up in Ireland, 1990.

Irish historian R. F. Foster views the history of Ireland as an epic story. He asserts that’s the way the Irish wanted it. So first, he recasts historical events for dramatic effect. Then he dissects the works of Irish writers from Standish O’Grady to Frank McCourt in light of his claims.

Lytton Strachey Eminent Victorians, 1918.

Lytton Strachey’s depictions of Victorians Cardinal Manning, Florence Nightingale, Thomas Arnold, and General Gordon changed the literary form of biography from a work of emulation to one of wit and realism. This change in biographical approach altered the perception of the Victorians forever.

Claire Tomalin Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self, 2003.

The most celebrated chronicler of 17th century London, Samuel Pepys, kept a diary filled with plague, civil war, and the Great Fire of London. As an advisor to King Charles II, he witnessed both the lives of those in the upper echelons of power and ordinary people. Claire Tomalin, in turn, chronicles the life of Pepys.

942. England and Wales

Roy Porter English Society in the Eighteenth Century, 1982.

The first edition of this work covered the everyday lives of the English people from the bottom of the social ladder to the top in the 18th century. All aspects of society were covered, including food, shelter, festivals, art, entertainment, and finances. The 1990 revised edition also covers information about the climate of the time, which came to light after the publication of the original.

David Starkey Six Wives: The Queens of Henry VIII, 2004.

British historian David Starkey looks at each queen who was married to Henry VIII in turn. He also examines the expectations and rituals for queens of the time that impacted Henry’s decisions. Rather than a cold monarch or a womanizer, Starkey says Henry was a man seeking love and a male heir to fulfil his duty to his people.

Anna Whitelock The Queen’s Bed: An Intimate History of Elizabeth’s Court, 2014.

While Elizabeth I never married, her bedroom swarmed with women charged with keeping her safe, healthy, and chaste. Elizabeth’s body was never her own; every decision she made had consequences for the entire country. This look at the activities swirling around Elizabeth’s most private quarters makes for fascinating reading.

For more information on the Further Reading series, see Further Reading: Start Here.


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