Monday, February 28, 2005

EU and UK - History of the British Isles

To understand the position of the UK in the EU, one has to have a good grasp of the history of the British Isles.

The most famous History of the English-Speaking Peoples was of course a four-volume treatise written by Sir Winston Churchill, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1953.

See A History of the English-Speaking Peoples
Volume 1: The Birth of Britain (begins with Julius Caesar and the Romans)
Volume 2: The New World
Volume 3: The Age of Revolution
Volume 4: The Great Democracies

For our taste, the most wonderfully readable books about British history are the books of Sir Arthur Bryant, especially his three-volume "A History of Britain and the British People", which consists of:
Set in a Silver Sea (Volume One)
Freedom's Own Island (Volume Two), and
Search for Justice (Volume Three).

Bryant begins with the ancient history of the British Isles 10,000 years ago and proceeds from there to the present, covering all of British history. As Bryant writes in Set in a Silver Sea (page xv):

"For it is not intended solely for the educated minority who read scholarly history and for whom I have been writing it for more than half a century, but for the younger generation of a new classless society which has grown up in almost total ignorance of their country's history...."

The Story of England by William McElwee covers the history of England "From the Time of King Alfred to the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II".

A good study of British institutions in the aftermath of the dissolution of the British Empire is found in the books of Anthony Sampson: The Anatomy of Britain (1962), twenty years later The Changing Anatomy of Britain, and recently Who Runs This Place?: The Anatomy of Britain in the 21st Century.

A popular book about the English is Jeremy Paxman's The English: A Portrait of a People.

A mythological-archaeological approach to the pagan history of England is found in Brian Branston's, The Lost Gods of England.

The myths and legends are explored in Richard Barber's Myths and Legends of the British Isles.

A Guide to the Stone Circles of Britain, Ireland and Brittany is found in the correspondingly titled book by Aubrey Burl.

The megaliths of the British Isles (and elsewhere) are examined and explained in the work of this author at Stars Stones and Scholars.

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