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English History Made Brief, Irreverent and Pleasurable
Here at last is a history of England that is designed to entertain as well as inform and that will delight the armchair traveler, the tourist or just about anyone interested in history. No people have engendered quite so much acclaim or earned so much censure as the English: extolled as the Athenians of modern times, yet hammered for their self-satisfaction and hypocrisy. ...more
Paperback, 262 pages
Published October 1st 2006 by Chicago Review Press
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(showing 1-30 of 229)
British historian Lacey Baldwin Smith has created here a quality introduction to the history of England, Great Britain, or the United Kingdom, whatever it's really called. He touches on just about everything from the Roman conquest of England shortly after Julius Caesar's visitation there up to the current Queen Elizabeth II. This is all done with plenty of dry British humor (or possibly humour). The first example of many comes when Smith quotes translator Duncan Spaeth on the British empire, sa ...more
Last year, prior to my first trip to England, I read Rebecca Fraser's 850-page "The Story of Britain." It was illuminating, but quite the chore. This year, in anticipation of my second trip to England, I read the 250-page "English History Made Brief, Irreverent and Pleasurable." For the most part, the title represents truth in advertising. I came away nearly as enlightened about GB's history through Smith's book with a fraction of the effort. Some people complain that he glosses over too much of ...more
It is precisely what it's title states, brief, irreverent and pleasurable English history! I wanted a quick read before a trip to England and this was a perfect fit for my needs. At first there is much emphasis upon royalty/ the kings but as their power diminishes, so does the books focus upon them and there is more discussion upon the general political system (how it evolves, the situations/ various crisis, etc.). Quite a good and quick read on this subject matter. For greater analysis and deta ...more
Lacey Smith achieves each of the criteria in the title while creating a book that could work wonders on even the most crazed and jumpy-eyed students in history classes across the country. Well, if not, it’s still is a very entertaining and informing read for anybody with a care for some history. I wish there were more books like this to hold our diminishing 21st century attention spans.
This book is only slightly irreverent, and not that pleasurable. The author succeeds on "brevity," though this is actually the key weakness of the work. There is just too much English history to cover in a small volume like this. As a consequence, the book reads like an outline, without enough depth to really say much.
Following graduate work at Princeton University, he went on to teach there and at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Northwestern University, where until his retirement he was Professor of History and Peter B. Ritzma Professor in the Humanities. Smith is the recipient of two Fulbright awards, two National Endowment for the Humanities fellowships, a Guggenheim Fellowship, and numerous ot ...moreMore about Lacey Baldwin Smith...