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message 1: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
This is the thread which deals with the making of modern Britain:

message 2: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here is a nice trilogy covering British history written by Jan Morris. I have the series but its sitting un-read in my library:

Heaven's Command An Imperial Progress (Pax Britannica) by Jan Morris by Jan Morris - "This title is the first volume in the triptych by the same author, depicting the rise and decline of the British Empire and it centres on the period between Queen Victoria's accession in 1837, and her Diamond Jubilee of 1897."

Pax Britannica The Climax of an Empire by James Morris by Jan Morris - "This title is the second volume in the triptych by the same author, depicting the rise and decline of the British Empire and it centres on the Diamond Jubilee of 1897."

Farewell the Trumpets (Pax Britannica) by Jan Morris by Jan Morris - "This title is the third volume in the triptych by the same author, depicting the rise and decline of the British Empire and it charts the imperial retreat from glory, ending with the death of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965."

message 3: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11651 comments Mod
I wanted to read these too, Aussie Rick. Good choice, thanks.

message 4: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here's a new book on the market that offers a slightly different perspective of modern English history; "Highlander: The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier" by Tim Newark.

Highlander The History of the Legendary Highland Soldier by Tim Newark by Tim Newark
"The latest work of a sound popular military historian treats the Highland regiments of the British, which began in the eighteenth century as the followers of Highland chiefs and were gradually regularized into the British army through the Napoleonic Wars. They reached their height during the Victorian era’s cultish obsession with all things Scottish, when they also justifiably earned a high military reputation as shock troops. That reputation was maintained through the two world wars, even though the kilt gave way to battle dress and increasing numbers of nominal Highlanders came from London. The postwar shrinkage of the empire wreaked havoc on all British armed forces, and domestic politics and the European Union (about which Newark is coldly polite) have compounded it. Newark clearly believes in the military value of tradition, though he is careful to distinguish probable fact from probable legend in recounting the Highlanders’ deeds. Thus he manages to be romantic, readable, and scholarly at the same time, a very noteworthy feat." - Booklist

message 5: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) Here is a new book for those who have an interest in the Victorian Cross.

COMPLETE VICTORIA CROSS, THE A Full Chronological Record of All Holders of Britain's Highest Award for Gallantry by Kevin Brazier by Kevin Brazier
Publishers blurb:
This complete chronological record of VC holders is an essential work of reference for every student of military history. All the British and Commonwealth servicemen who have been awarded the highest honour for exceptional acts of bravery and self-sacrifice are commemorated here. The first VCs awarded for the Crimean War and in the nineteenth-century colonial wars are described, as are the VCs awarded in the world wars of the twentieth century and the most recent VCs awarded during present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The extraordinary exploits recounted in this fascinating book make unforgettable reading.

Each entry gives the name and rank of the VC holder and the date and location of the action in which the VC was earned. The episodes themselves are described, in vivid detail. Some information is also provided on the subsequent career of the VC recipients, the location of their medals and their place of burial.

This remarkable reference book should appeal to anyone who is interested in British military history and in the history of medals, and in tales of the extraordinary heroism exhibited by men under fire.

Kevin Brazier has investigated the lives, careers and military exploits of all 1358 VC holders in order to compile this unique book. He has long been intrigued by medals and medal recipients, in particular by the VC, Britain’s highest award for gallantry.

message 6: by 'Aussie Rick' (last edited Jan 20, 2011 07:31PM) (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I am currently reading "British Campaign in Flanders 1690-1794" by J.W. Fortescue. This book is made up of extracts from Mr Fortescue's famous twenty volume; "A History of the British Army". For those interested below is a summary of this series:

Vol. I - from the Battle of Hastings to the end of the Seven Year's War (1713). Includes such battles as Bannockburn, Crecy, Agincourt, Flodden, the battles of the English Civil War, Dunkirk Dunes, Tangiers, and the battles during Marlborough's campaigns. The volume also traces the development of European Armies, infantry, cavalry and artillery, and the specific changes in Britain during the period.
Vol. II - covers from the 1713 to 1763 and includes the Jacobite Rebellion of 1715, the scandals of the reign of King George I, the war with Spain and the dispute over the Austrian Succession, and the Battles of Fontenoy and Culloden. It also covers the situation in India and the contest for mastery with the French. The expansion into North America is described and the differences that arose between the French and the British, together with Wolfe's campaigns in North America. The volume includes much material on the development of the British Army, and the problems that arose with regard to recruitment and conditions of service at that time.
Vol. III - continues the story from 1763 to 1792. The continuing problems in North America are joined by the growing pains of Empire. The loss of the Americas is covered in detail, as is the state of the British Army, especially in the light of Cornwallis' disastrous contributions to the American failure. Developments in India follow, and again Cornwallis makes a contribution to failure.
Vol IV Part I - Deals with the French Revolution from 1789 to the Treaty of Amiens in 1798. It includes British operations in the Netherlands, the West Indies, South Africa and Ireland. The whole European area is described with the French and Allied nations included. Naval matters are also included, and the campaigns in Egypt and the Mediterranean are treated in detail. At the same time a close eye is kept on developments within the British Army.
Vol. IV Part 2 - continues the theme of the previous part, and goes up to 1801. The examination of the British Army is also expanded, and an important appendix gives exact details of British Army pay.
Vol. V - the period 1803 to 1807. Detailed treatment of the situation and operations in the East Indies and Ceylon, the West Indies, Europe and the Mediterranean. There are important chapters on conditions at home,and the air of war-weariness that was appearing. Finally, there is a description of operations in South America.
Vol. VI - 1807-1809. The Napoleonic War continued, with further details of operations in Egypt and in the Mediterranean. The Swedish situation is covered, the British expedition to Copenhagen and operations in Portugal. The Spanish theatre is also examined in fine detail.
Vol. VII - 1809-1810. This volume is concerned mainly with these two years in the Peninsula, but also covers the expedition to the Scheldt, and operations in the East Indies, Mauritius and Java. Vol. VII - 1809-1810. Maps
Vol. VIII - 1811-1812. This volume covers two more years of the campaign in the Peninsula, together with the War with the United States. There are details of many battles, including Barosa, Badajoz, Fuentes de Onoro, Albuera, Ciudad Rodrigo, Salamanca and others of fame during the Peninsula War.
Vol. IX - 1813-1814. The French invasion of Russia is followed by descriptions of the situation in the Peninsula, and in North America. Throughout developments in Europe are covered so that the picture of the war for the reader in these years is complete, and second to none in detail. Vol. X - 1814-1815. The whole of Europe was aflame in these two years, and Fortescue writes most effectively of the military activity and the political background. Italy, the Peninsula, the Low Countries and the American War are all interwoven from the British point of view in a tour de force of military history. He then includes a really valuable summary of events in Europe from 1803 to 1814 before setting out to describe the culminating battle at Waterloo. From the Duchess of Richmond's Ball to the exhaustion on the night after the battle, Fortescue maintains a pace and directness which is fascinating to read.
Vol. XI - 1815-1838. Fortescue looks at the British Army in 1815, and particularly the recruit in England. Every detail of his life is included, and the picture is an important one for all who are interested in this period of military and social history. The War with Nepal, the Pindari War, the War in Ceylon and the War with Burma all occupy the subsequent pages followed by the Ashanti campaign and the Kaffir War of 1834-35. This volume also includes details of Home Affairs and Foreign Policy.
Vol. XII - 1839-52. This volume is mainly concerned with India, and covers operations in Afghanistan and on the Khyber Pass, together with internal security operations in India itself. There is also a section dealing with the revolt in Australia and operations in New Zealand. Finally there is a description of the Kaffir War and the Boer revolt.
Vol. XIII - 1852-1870. This volume includes the Crimean War, the War in Persia and the Indian Mutiny and the campaign in China. It then goes on to look at the Ambela and Abyssinian campaigns, and the Wars in New Zealand. Finally Fortescue looks at affairs in Great Britain and the position of the East India Company. He then turns his attention to the new army from 1870 to 1914, and includes the territorial system, the new social engineering going on for men's welfare in the army, The series ends however with an important look at the end of the era of purchase, and what the army was going to do next.

British Campaigns In Flanders 1690-1794 by The Hon. J. W. Fortescue by The Hon. J. W. Fortescue

message 7: by 'Aussie Rick' (new)

'Aussie Rick' (AussieRick) I've had this book tucked away in my library for some time and hope to be able to read it soon. It covers one of Britain's icon's; "Kitchener: Architect of Victory, Artisan of Peace" by John Pollock.

Kitchener Architect of Victory, Artisan of Peace by John Pollock by John Pollock
He returned to London a hero in the autumn of 1898. The city went wild. He was Kitchener of Khartoum: victor of the Battle of Omdurman, destroyer of tyranny, avenger of the massacred General Gordon. Sir Herbert Kitchener had reconquered the Sudan and laid down principles that for sixty years made it one of the most humanely governed lands in the British Empire. Based on the Kitchener Papers and Royal Archives as well as contemporary manuscripts and private letters, this new biography records the military triumphs and peace of reconciliation Kitchener achieved in South Africa; his postings in India as commander in chief and Egypt as proconsul; the strategy that, despite Kitchener's death by enemy action in 1916, guided the Allies to victory in the Great War. Thoroughly researched, too, are the brutality, butchery, and homosexuality that have in recent times clouded Kitchener's reputation. What emerges beyond the iconic public figure who clashed with Lloyd George and Churchill is the man often capable of great compassion and humanitarian vision.

"Best known as the brutal muscle behind Britain's late 19th-century participation in the "Scramble for Africa," whereby European powers vied with one another to divide the continent, Kitchener (1850-1916) and his tactics--which included concentration camps and massive scorched-earth policies in the Sudan and during the Boer War--have not fared so well over time. British biographer Pollock (Wilberforce; etc.) uses a trove of family papers, the Royal Archives, contemporary letters and other accounts to rehabilitate his subject painstakingly, painting the victory at Sudan's Omdurman (1898), the peace settlement with the Boers in South Africa (1902), the reform of the Indian Army and other conquests as rightly making him Britain's most respected general at the start of WWI. Pollock shows Kitchener predicting the costly length of the war and remarking that only an impartial peace conference would avoid future war in Europe. Kitchener drowned in June 1916 when a British cruiser struck a German mine and sank en route to Russia, so his participation was cut short. Pollock uses his sources adroitly to bring to life the personal strengths and weaknesses of Britain's then-most-admired general, which is this book's main contribution. Illustrations not seen by PW. (Mar.)Forecast: The first third of this near-hagiography was published in the U.K. in 1998, and was extensively reviewed. This expanded, simultaneous publication may generate further interest across the pond, but few beyond buffs and specialists will seek it out over here. Nevertheless, it is the only Kitchener biography currently in print in the U.S., and its extensive primary research may contribute to library sales." - Publishers Weekly

"In the pantheon of heroes of the British Empire, Herbert Kitchener has been one of the more revered. His military accomplishments include the reconquest of the Sudan, the staving off of disaster and eventual victory in the Boer War, and the development of a "successful" strategy for British forces during World War I. In addition, Kitchener, a deeply devout man, was viewed as the ideal Christian warrior by proponents of "muscular Christianity." Yet, a true understanding of his personality has always seemed just out of reach, partially due to Kitchener's shyness and reserve (or aloofness and arrogance). Pollack, a biographer who has previously written lives of other imperial icons, penetrates the stern, unflappable mask Kitchener presented to the public. Pollack is an unabashed admirer, and his efforts to gloss over Kitchener's occasional wartime brutalities do not ring true. Still, he makes a convincing case that Kitchener was a man of surprising warmth and compassion with an unusual appreciation of the limits of military force in solving social conflicts." - Jay Freeman (Booklist)

message 8: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Here is a book that was recommended by one of our members, Geevee.

When the Lights Went Out Britain in the Seventies by Andy Beckett by Andy Beckett (no photo)

It examines a turbulent time in England.....industrial strikes, the rise of Margaret Thatcher and the fall of Edward Heath. The book includes interviews with political players, some now forgotten, who had an effect on shaping that era.

message 9: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Another book for the TBR list of British history lovers. It looks at Britain between the wars and shows that following the Great War, the modern era's promise of progress was overshadowed by a looming sense of decay that would deeply influence creative production. The author examines the paradox of this period and argues that the coming of WWII was almost welcomed by Britain's leading thinkers. You may not agree with the author but it certainly makes interesting reading.

The Twilight Years The Paradox of Britain Between the Wars by Richard Overy by Richard Overy

message 10: by Emily (new)

Emily Williams | 2 comments I just started a book set in 1789, so after the American revolution and kind of on the earlier side of modern British history. It's about three boys - two English, one French, who meet in London when England and Spain are on the brink of war (when France is allied with Spain). It's very well written and engaging! The title is "A Tainted Dawn" and it's by B.N. Peacock -
Have any of you read it?

message 11: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11651 comments Mod

Thanks for the book. Don't forget to cite the book, although Goodreads does not have the right author, hmmm...

A Tainted Dawn The Great War by Michael AyeMichael Aye

message 12: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
If you love London as I do this "coffee table" book is for you. Illustrated with a myriad of photographs of that great city culled from the Archives of English Heritage, it reveals Elizabethan, Georgian and Victorian London in all its glory and squalor. Since major redevelopment took place in the 20th century, it is a record of destruction and a door to the past. Highly recommended for the Londonphile.

Lost London 1870-1945 by Philip Davies by Philip Davies

message 13: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
The outcry and scandal of the abdication of King Edward VIII has generated myriad books on the subject and the individuals involved. This is a biography of the main player, Wallis Simpson, the "woman he loved".

That Woman

That Woman The Life of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor  by Anne Sebba by Anne SebbaAnne Sebba

One of Britain's most distinguished biographers turns her focus on one of the most vilified woman of the last century. Historian Anne Sebba has written the first full biography of Wallis Simpson, Duchess of Windsor, by a woman which attempts to understand this fascinating and enigmatic American divorcee who nearly became Queen of England. 'That woman', as she was referred to by the Queen Mother, became a hate figure for allegedly ensnaring a British king. Born in 1895 in Baltimore, Bessiewallis Warfield endured an impoverished and comparatively obscure childhood which inflamed a burning desire to rise above her circumstances. Neither beautiful nor brilliant, and no longer young, she nevertheless became one of the most talked about women of her generation, and inspired such deep love and adoration in Edward VIII that even giving up a throne and an empire for her was not enough to prove his total devotion. Wallis lived by her wit and her wits, while both her apparent and alleged moral transgressions added to her aura and dazzle. Accused of Fascist sympathies, having Nazi lovers and learning bizarre sexual techniques in China, she was the subject of widespread gossip and fascination that has only increased with the years. In death, the Duchess became a symbol of empowerment and a style icon, a woman whose unequivocal aim was to win in the game of life. Based on new archives and material recently made available, this scrupulously researched biography re evaluates the role of politicians in the 1930s, sheds new light on the character and motivations of this powerful, charismatic and complex woman, and questions was this really the romantic love story of the century?

message 14: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
What British resident or visitor to England doesn't love the Proms.

The Proms: A New Hisotry

The Proms A New History by Jenny Doctorby Jenny Doctor

The Proms, more formally known as The BBC Proms, or The Henry Wood Promenade Concerts presented by the BBC, is an eight-week summer season of daily orchestral classical music concerts and other events held annually, predominantly in the Royal Albert Hall in London. Founded in 1895, each season currently consists of more than 70 concerts in the Albert Hall, a series of chamber concerts at Cadogan Hall, additional Proms in the Park events across the United Kingdom on the last night, and associated educational and children's events. The Proms has been described as "the world's largest and most democratic musical festival".

Prom is short for promenade concert, a term which originally referred to outdoor concerts in London's pleasure gardens, where the audience was free to stroll around while the orchestra was playing. In fact this tradition has been revived in parks and stately homes around the UK at promenade concerts.

message 15: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Remains of The Curtain, a playhouse where Shakespeare's Henry the V premiered has been uncovered by the Museum of London while doing regeneration work. See the full story at the link below. A very exciting find indeed.

Henry V by William Shakespeare by William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare

message 16: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
This is a fun book about the Britannia Subterranea, the hidden world under the streets of London. Recommended.

London Under

London Under The Secret History Beneath the Streets by Peter Ackroyd by Peter AckroydPeter Ackroyd


Beneath the streets of London lurks a hidden world full of "creeping things that will never see the light of day". This is a poetic and powerful urban history of life beneath London and the book tunnels down through the layers, meeting the creatures, real and fictional that dwell in the darkness. It is a unique look at history below one of the world's greatest cities.

message 17: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (last edited Aug 06, 2012 06:51AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
This book investigates the shift of power from Great Britain to the United States after WWII.

Picking Up The Reins

Picking Up the Reins by Norman Moss by Norman Moss

After the devastation of WWII and the realization that the damage to Europe was irreparable, the balance of world power shifted across the Atlantic from Europe to the United States. This book looks at the relationship of Britain and America as the United States took on something approximating the imperial role that Britain had previously held. A scholarly work.

message 18: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (last edited Aug 29, 2012 05:08PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
You either love it or you hate it. The London Eye dominates the skyline across from the Embankment. You decide.

Eye: The Story Behind the London Eye

Eye The Story Behind the London Eye by Marcus Robinsonby Marcus Robinson


Sweeping one of the world's most famous skylines at 135 meters in height, the London Eye is the largest observational wheel in the world, and provides a spectacular 30 minute `flight' over England's capital. But if it had not been for the vision, commitment and sheer persistence of David Marks and Julia Barfield, the husband and wife team of architects behind the project, the London Eye might never have been built.

Eye tells the various stories behind the conception, development, realization and construction of the capital's newest landmark, including personal and political dramas, corporate conflicts, doubts, risks, obstacles and accidents. Against the backdrop of New Labour's pre-millennium Britain, prominent public figures attacked and defended the project, there were unprecedented design and construction problems to overcome, and Marks and Barfield had to fight every inch of the way to maintain the integrity of their vision.

message 19: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
What was more fun coming out of Britain than Monty Python's Flying Circus? No history is complete without some reference to their zany, out-there humor? I couldn't resist adding this book for all you Python fans, myself included.

Monty Python's Flying Circus

Monty Python's Flying Circus An Utterly Complete, Thoroughly Unillustrated, Absolutely Unauthorized Guide to Possibly All the References by Darl Larsen by Darl Larsen


In 1969, the BBC aired the first episode of a new comedy series titled Monty Python's Flying Circus, and the rest, as they say, is history. An instant success, the show ran until 1974, producing a total of 45 episodes. Despite the show's very English humor and allusions to many things British, the series developed a cult following outside the U.K., particularly in the United States. Known for its outrageous humor, occasionally controversial content, and often silly spirit, Monty Python's Flying Circus poked fun at nearly all institutions domestic or foreign, grand or intimate, sacred or not. Indeed, many of the allusions and references in the program were uniquely British and routinely obscure, and therefore, not always understood or even noticed outside the British Isles. This exhaustive reference identifies and explains the plethora of cultural, historical, and topical allusions of this landmark series. In this resource, virtually every allusion and reference that appeared in an episode whether stated by a character, depicted in the mise-en-scene, or mentioned in the printed scripts is identified and explained. Organized chronologically by episode, each entry is listed alphabetically, indicates what sketch it appeared in, and is cross-referenced between episodes. Entries cover literary and metaphoric allusions, symbolisms, names, peoples, and places; as well as the myriad social, cultural, and historical elements (photos, songs, slogans, caricatures) that populate and inform these episodes.

message 20: by Peter (new)

Peter Flom | 1099 comments Another great British comedy (and parody of politics) is The Complete Yes Minister by Jonathan Lynn and The Complete Yes Prime Minister by Jonathan Lynn both by Jonathan Lynn (no photo available). This was also two great TV shows of the same name.

One thing I noted - throughout the series you never learn what political party Hacker belongs to.

message 21: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Thanks, is rather like Wodehouse updated, isn't it.

message 22: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Want to become a citizen of the UK? Take some of the sample questions posted in the Guardian to see if you know enough of British history to pass the test.

message 23: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11651 comments Mod
The Battle of Bretton Woods: John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order

The Battle of Bretton Woods John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn SteilBenn Steil


When turmoil strikes world monetary and financial markets, leaders invariably call for 'a new Bretton Woods' to prevent catastrophic economic disorder and defuse political conflict. The name of the remote New Hampshire town where representatives of forty-four nations gathered in July 1944, in the midst of the century's second great war, has become shorthand for enlightened globalization. The actual story surrounding the historic Bretton Woods accords, however, is full of startling drama, intrigue, and rivalry, which are vividly brought to life in Benn Steil's epic account.

Upending the conventional wisdom that Bretton Woods was the product of an amiable Anglo-American collaboration, Steil shows that it was in reality part of a much more ambitious geopolitical agenda hatched within President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Treasury and aimed at eliminating Britain as an economic and political rival. At the heart of the drama were the antipodal characters of John Maynard Keynes, the renowned and revolutionary British economist, and Harry Dexter White, the dogged, self-made American technocrat. Bringing to bear new and striking archival evidence, Steil offers the most compelling portrait yet of the complex and controversial figure of White--the architect of the dollar's privileged place in the Bretton Woods monetary system, who also, very privately, admired Soviet economic planning and engaged in clandestine communications with Soviet intelligence officials and agents over many years.

A remarkably deft work of storytelling that reveals how the blueprint for the postwar economic order was actually drawn, The Battle of Bretton Woods is destined to become a classic of economic and political history.

message 24: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (last edited Mar 09, 2015 09:48PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
That sounds fascinating, Bryan. The Anglo-American cooperation myth appears to be blown away in this book and that is not surprising. There was so much behind the scenes planning (or plotting) going on during WWII and it was not confined just to the battle tactics, etc. since the world was going to be a different place once the war ended. Looks like another one for my TBR pile!

The Battle of Bretton Woods John Maynard Keynes, Harry Dexter White, and the Making of a New World Order by Benn Steil by Benn Steil

message 25: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11651 comments Mod
Yep, add another to the pile for me, too :-)

message 26: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
India is asking for the return of the Koh-I-Noor diamond which was taken by the British during the era of the Raj. The 106 carat diamond is a part of the coronation crown in England. PM Cameron say "no", and this article cited in the link below provides his rationalization.

message 27: by Bentley, Group Founder, Leader, Chief (new)

Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
Well the colonial general of India at the time did give it to the royal family so all I can say is get over it.

But the Elgin Marbles not so much - nobody gave them to Lord Elgin to cart off. I do agree that Britain has the wherewithal to take care of them better and has done a whole lot better than Greece has done with its artifacts. You just cannot turn over a baby to its biological mother if the baby will not be taken care of properly and the mother only wants to take it back because of ego, political reasons or spitefulness. Maybe the baby is better off where it is and has been for years.

message 28: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11651 comments Mod
From Boer War to World War

From Boer War to World War Tactical Reform of the British Army, 1902-1914 by Spencer JonesSpencer Jones


The British Expeditionary Force at the start of World War I was tiny by the standards of the other belligerent powers. Yet, when deployed to France in 1914, it prevailed against the German army because of its professionalism and tactical skill, strengths developed through hard lessons learned a dozen years earlier. In October 1899, the British went to war against the South African Boer republics of Transvaal and Orange Free State, expecting little resistance. A string of early defeats in the Boer War shook the military’s confidence. Historian Spencer Jones focuses on this bitter combat experience in From Boer War to World War, showing how it crucially shaped the British Army’s tactical development in the years that followed.

Before the British Army faced the Boer republics, an aura of complacency had settled over the military. The Victorian era had been marked by years of easy defeats of crudely armed foes. The Boer War, however, brought the British face to face with what would become modern warfare. The sweeping, open terrain and advent of smokeless powder meant soldiers were picked off before they knew where shots had been fired from. The infantry’s standard close-order formations spelled disaster against the well-armed, entrenched Boers. Although the British Army ultimately adapted its strategy and overcame the Boers in 1902, the duration and cost of the war led to public outcry and introspection within the military.

Jones draws on previously underutilized sources as he explores the key tactical lessons derived from the war, such as maximizing firepower and using natural cover, and he shows how these new ideas were incorporated in training and used to effect a thorough overhaul of the British Army. The first book to address specific connections between the Boer War and the opening months of World War I, Jones’s fresh interpretation adds to the historiography of both wars by emphasizing the continuity between them.

message 29: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
That sounds like a good book Bryan.......but I wonder if he mentioned that during WWI, part of the supplies demanded by the General Staff were lances to be used by the mounted cavalry. Of course, it was never done but some of the older leadership did not seem to learn much. I need to read this book.

message 30: by Bryan, Honorary Contributor - EMERITUS (new)

Bryan Craig | 11651 comments Mod
I will, too. It brings out a different story than usually told, like you were saying, not ready for modern war.

message 31: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
The United States and England, separated by a common language!!

Old World, New World

Old World, New World Great Britain and America from the Beginning by Kathleen Burk by Kathleen Burk


Our close bond with Great Britain seems inevitable, given our shared language and heritage. But as distinguished historian Kathleen Burk shows in this groundbreaking history, recently published to acclaim in the United Kingdom, the close international relationship was forged only recently, preceded by several centuries of hostility and conflict that began soon after the first English colony was established on the newly discovered continent. Burk, a fourth-generation Californian and professor of history in London, draws on her unique knowledge of both countries to explore the totality of the relationship—the politics, economics, culture, and society—that both connected the two peoples and drove them apart. She tells the story from each side, beginning with the English exploration of the New World and taking us up to the present alliance in Iraq. At once sweeping in scope and intimate in detail, Old World, New World is a vivid, absorbing, and surprising story of one of the longest international love-hate relationships in modern history.

message 32: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
The gentleman's game of cricket used to be written about by some of the greats. This is a collection of some of those stories, articles, and essays.

The Picador Book of Cricket

The Picador Book Of Cricket by Ramachandra Guha by Ramachandra GuhaRamachandra Guha


A tribute to the finest writers on the game of cricket and an acknowledgement that the great days of cricket literature are behind us. There was a time when major English writers - P. G. Wodehouse, Arthur Conan Doyle, Alec Waugh - took time off to write about cricket, whereas the cricket book market today is dominated by ghosted autobiographies and statistical compendiums. "The Picador Book of Cricket" celebrates the best writing on the game and includes many pieces that have been out of print, or difficult to get hold of, for years. Including Neville Cardus, C. L. R. James, John Arlott, V. S. Naipaul, and C. B. Fry, this anthology is a must for any cricket follower or anyone interested in sports writing elevated to high art.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
The Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace is a sight you must see when you are in London. The link below gives some history, schedules and other information about the Guard.

message 34: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (last edited Jul 12, 2013 05:23PM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
How many people remember the John Profumo scandal and the beautiful call girl Christine Keeler who may have been passing government secrets to the Russians. This interview with Keeler from the June 2013 The Telegraph finally answers that question. Below is the most famous photo of Keeler, astride an Arne Jacobsen chair.

"Now 71, Keeler has spoken out openly about her role in the events which led to the resignation of Profumo, the Secretary of State for War, from the Macmillan Government in June 1963.

His career came to an abrupt end after it emerged that Keeler, with the Cold War at its height, was conducting a simultaneous affair with Yevgeny Ivanov, a Soviet spy.

Keeler has now confessed she played a bigger part in the espionage ring coordinated by Stephen Ward, than had been previously thought. 'However I dress it up, I was a spy and I am not proud of it. The truth is that I betrayed my country,' she told the Sunday Mirror.

'I tried to block it out – I was too scared. Just by admitting that for the first time I have freed myself of an enormously heavy emotional burden.'

She said her involvement in the operation run by Ward, a society osteopath who committed suicide on the last day of his trial for living off immoral earnings, started before she had ever met Profumo.

She was asked to deliver an envelope to the Soviet embassy in London which, she was told, contained details of a bridge game for Ivanov. 'I knew I was passing on information but over all the years I have always told myself it was only papers to do with bridge. It wasn't of course. I was a stupid young girl. If I had fully understood then I would never have done anything that would harm my country. I was recruited by a clever, charismatic but dangerous man.'

According to Keeler, she also was present at meetings attended by Ward, Anthony Blunt, who was later exposed as a member of the Soviet spy ring and Sir Roger Hollis, the head of MI5 – who has since also faced accusations of treachery.

Ward, she says, tried to exploit her complicated love life, asking her to use pillow talk during her affair with Profumo to discover when nuclear warheads were being moved to Germany.

According to Keeler, the history of the Profumo affair has, by concentrating on sex, missed the real significance of what happened. 'History says my story is about sex. It is, of course, but that is just moments of it. Over all the years the sex has taken the searchlights off the spies.'

message 35: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
"Tell-all" book about the incidents as described in post #34 above.

Secrets and Lies

Secrets and Lies by Christine Keeler by Christine Keeler (no photo)

Christine Keeler, using her fame (or infamy) tells all about her affair with John Profumo. Or does she? Another of those one-hit wonders that are here today and gone tomorrow.

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Bentley | 31965 comments Mod
This thread is getting provocative for the usual staid British History

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
This was quite the scandal, wasn't it?

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
This book is just plain fun and gives the reader a peek at what Queen Elizabeth and monarchs before her liked to eat....some recipes included.

Dinner at Buckingham Palace

Dinner at Buckingham Palace by Charles Oliver by Charles Oliver (no photo)


Dinner at Buckingham Palace is a unique collection of authentic recipes from the royal households, based on the diaries and personal recollections of royal servant Charles Oliver. It became a hobby of his to collect royal menus and recipes until he amassed a considerable collection. He also lovingly and respectfully hoarded a treasure of anecdotes, souvenirs and information on royal tastes and entertaining, to make his own unique and individual commentary, as well as a store of never-before-published private photographs. So, from Queen Victoria's habit of eating breakfast to the sound of bagpipes, to Prince Philip's favourite recipe for scrambled eggs, this book provides a delightful memoir of the tastes and traditions of the royal household over several generations.

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Alisa (MsTaz) | 5532 comments Culture Wars in British Literature: Multiculturalism and National Identity

Culture Wars in British Literature Multiculturalism and National Identity by Tracy J. Prince by Tracy J. PrinceTracy J. Prince


The past century's culture wars that Britain has been consumed by, but that few North Americans seem aware of, have resulted in revised notions of Britishness and British literature. Yet literary anthologies remain anchored to an archaic Anglo-English interpretation of British literature. Conflicts have been played out over specific national vs. British identity (some residents prefer to describe themselves as being from Scotland, England, Wales, or Northern Ireland instead of Britain), in debates over immigration, race, ethnicity, class, and gender, and in arguments over British literature. These debates are strikingly detailed in such chapters as: "The Difficulty Defining 'Black British'," "British Jewish Writers" and "Xenophobia and the Booker Prize." Connections are also drawn between civil rights movements in the U.S. and UK. This generalist cultural study is a lively read and a fascinating glimpse into Britain's changing identity as reflected in 20th and 21st century British literature.

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Desiree | 52 comments looks very interesting. guess I should read that.
Thanks Alisa

message 41: by Jill, Assisting Moderator - Military Hist L/Global NF/Eur/Brit/Music (last edited Sep 03, 2013 11:39AM) (new)

Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
There is no place in the world quite like the British pub and this book covers it all.....from the odd hours to "time, gentlemen". Lots of fun.

It's My Round: 2,000 Years of the British Pub

It's My Round 2000 Years of the British Pub by William Greaves by William Greaves (no photo


"Pubs can’t be built – they are a way of life."

There is no more important institution in British life the the pub. It is a place of celebration, somewhere to relax, the hub of a community, and sometimes a refuge from work and family. But where did the pub come from? Where did pubs get their strange names - such as the Drunken Duck, the Polite Vicar and Dirty Dick? And what is it that makes them unique?

"It’s My Round" is William Greaves’ highly entertaining personal tribute to 2,000 years of the British Pub. His journey led him into the most gigantic pub crawl of his life – following in the footsteps of ‘Three Men in a Boat’ along the Thames watering holes, to Welsh country pubs, ancient Scottish pubs, and even fictionalised establishments like the Queen Vic and the Woolpack.

Along the way, he tracks its dramatic story from its beginnings as the Roman taburnae, to its present day importance, charting how it has stood the test of time against a flurry of invaders – from the Angles, Saxons, Vikings, and Normans, to the spread of Christianity and the condemnation of Cromwell’s puritans.

"It’s My Round" is a brilliantly entertaining mixture of personal anecdotes and fascinating facts about the British Pub. It is the one book which no fan of the British pub will want to miss.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Britain is noted for it's "little wars", and this is the most recent of those sorties. Incidentally, a plaque commemorating those who died there can be found in St. Pauls in London.

The Falklands War 1982

The Falklands War 1982 by Duncan Anderson by Duncan Anderson


The Argentine invasion of the Falklands in 1982 sparked national outrage and Britain felt she had to avenge the humiliation and protect her own. This volume explores both the military and political dimensions of this important conflict, including detailed accounts of the air / sea battle, the Battle for San Carlos Water, Goose Green, Mt Harriet, Tumbledown and many others. It explains how success in the Falklands set the stage for the years of Thatcher's dominance, and restored British prestige. Including first hand accounts from both soldiers and civilians, this is an interesting and thoroughly up to date appraisal.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
It is the way to travel in London and beyond to the suburbs....the underground, the "tube"...... whatever you call it, it is one of the world's greatest transportation systems. This book takes us down the steps and onto the trains with a vivid history of trains that carry millions every day......and, "mind the gap".

The London Underground

The London Underground by Andrew Emmerson by Andrew Emmerson (no photo)


The London Underground is the heart of London life, used by millions of commuters and shoppers every year, its tentacles extending into the suburbs it has helped to create. Its turbulent life has been determined by the trials and tribulations endured by the people it carries: it provided an network of life-saving shelter in the Blitz, but has also been the scene of numerous tragedies. The London Underground will transport you vividly back to the past: well over half the illustrations are in color, and most of the photographs have not seen the light of day since they were taken.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
A Bill Bryson type book in reverse. In this one the Englishman looks at America and what things look strange/silly/unexplainable to the British eye. This is worth reading.....funny and irreverent.

Across the Pond: An Englishman's View of America

Across the Pond An Englishman's View of America by Terry Eagleton by Terry EagletonTerry Eagleton


Americans have long been fascinated with the oddness of the British, but the English, according to Terry Eagleton, find their transatlantic neighbors equally strange. Why must we broadcast our children’s school grades with bumper stickers announcing “My Child Made the Honor Roll?” Why don’t we appreciate the indispensability of the teapot? And why do we so foolishly insist on being friendly to every passing stranger?

In his quirky journey through the language, geography, and national character of the USA, literary theorist Eagleton probes the depths of American culture with an academic’s gravitas and a comedian’s glee. He answers the questions his compatriots have always had but (being British) are too reticent to ask, like why we willingly rise at the crack of dawn, even on Sundays. In this pithy, warmhearted, and often very funny book, Eagleton melds a good old-fashioned roast with true admiration for his neighbors across the pond.

Bill BrysonBill Bryson

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
One of the great areas of London which deserves a book dedicated to it.

Discovering London's Dockland

Discovering London's Docklands by Christopher Fautley by Christopher Fautley (no photo)


Thriving port, dereliction, renaissance as a vibrant business center: few places in Britain have seen such extreme changes of fortune as London's Docklands. This book reveals the area's mysteries and secrets, such as the launch site of the Great Eastern, where pink pigeons were a common sight, where to find a piece of Britain's first iron-clad frigate, and how Muchute got its name. It also explores oddities of the twenty-first century, among them a floating church, a transporter bridge, a blue flying saucer, and a roof garden at ground level and, of course, the eye-popping architecture for which the district has become famous. Full directions are provided, making this an invaluable guide for those wishing to visit this remarkable area for themselves.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
The UK is having the worst floods in history. Take a look at this link below from The Guardian to see how widespread and deadly the month of February has been.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
What is more English than fish and chips? Go to the local take-away and get a brown paper bag full of these goodies. Nothing like it!!

Fish and Chips: A History

Fish and Chips A History by Panikos Panayi by Panikos Panayi (no photo)


Double-decker buses, bowler hats, and cricket may be synonymous with British culture, but when it comes to their cuisine, nothing comes to mind faster than fish and chips. Sprinkled with salt and vinegar and often accompanied by mushy peas, fish and chips were the original British fast food. In this innovative book, Panikos Panayi unwraps the history of Britain’s most popular takeout, relating a story that brings up complicated issues of class, identity, and development.

Investigating the origins of eating fish and potatoes in Britain, Panayi describes the birth of the meal itself, telling how fried fish was first introduced and sold by immigrant Jews before it spread to the British working classes in the early nineteenth century. He then moves on to the technological and economic advances that led to its mass consumption and explores the height of fish and chips’ popularity in the first half of the twentieth century and how it has remained a favorite today, despite the arrival of new contenders for the title of Britain’s national dish. Revealing its wider ethnic affiliations within the country, he examines how migrant communities such as Italians came to dominate the fish and chip trade in the twentieth century.

Brimming with facts, anecdotes, and images of historical and modern examples of this batter-dipped meal, Fish and Chips will appeal to all foodies who love this quintessentially British dish

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Elgin Marbles

Controversy has swirled for years around Britain's "ownership" of the famous Elgin Marbles. This article from BBC, entitled Lord Elgin - Saviour or Vandal is well worth reading. Follow the link below:

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Jerome | 3540 comments Distant Strangers: How Britain Became Modern

Distant Strangers How Britain Became Modern by James Vernon by James Vernon (no photo)


What does it mean to live in the modern world? How different is that world from those that preceded it, and when did we become modern?

In Distant Strangers, James Vernon argues that the world was made modern not by revolution, industrialization, or the Enlightenment. Instead, he shows how in Britain, a place long held to be the crucible of modernity, a new and distinctly modern social condition emerged by the middle of the nineteenth century. Rapid and sustained population growth, combined with increasing mobility of people over greater distances and concentrations of people in cities, created a society of strangers.

Vernon explores how individuals in modern societies adapted to live among strangers by forging more abstract and anonymous economic, social, and political relations, as well as by reanimating the local and the personal.

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Jill Hutchinson (Bucs1960) | 11985 comments Mod
Thanks, Jerome. Good addition.

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Books mentioned in this topic

Pax Britannica: The Climax Of An Empire (other topics)
Farewell The Trumpets: An Imperial Retreat (other topics)
Heaven's Command: An Imperial Progress (other topics)
Highlander : the history of the legendary Highland soldier (other topics)
The Complete Victoria Cross: A Full Chronological Record of All Holders of Britain's Highest Award for Gallantry (other topics)

Authors mentioned in this topic

Jan Morris (other topics)
Tim Newark (other topics)
Kevin Brazier (other topics)
John William Fortescue (other topics)
John Charles Pollock (other topics)