Baker & Taylor Portrays England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales as they struggle with each other and against outside forces to build a nation
Baker & Taylor A narrative history of the British Isles by a celebrated scholar portrays four nations--England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales--as they struggle with each other and against outside forces, like the Vikings and Normans, to build a nation and then an empire.
Oxford University Press 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 Europe. This 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 Language. This 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.