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The first book in Simon Schama's acclaimed three-volume journey into Britain's past.

Change - sometimes gentle and subtle, sometimes shocking and violent - is the dynamic of Simon Schama's unapologetically personal and grippingly written history of Britain, especially the changes that wash over custom and habit, transforming our loyalties.

What makes or breaks a nation? To whom do we give our allegiance and why? And where do the boundaries of our community lie - in our hearth and home, our village or city, tribe or faith? What is Britain - one country or many? Has British history unfolded 'at the edge of the world' or right at the heart of it?

Schama delivers these themes in a form that is at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and the wicked are here - Becket and Thomas Cromwell, Robert the Bruce and Anne Boleyn - but so are countless more ordinary lives: an Irish monk waiting for the plague to kill him in his cell at Kilkenny; a small boy running through the streets of London to catch a glimpse of Elizabeth I.

The first in a series, this volume paints a rich and vivid portrait of the life of the British people and their nation.

Reviews

An exciting, intensely seductive presentation of history.

Independent

He remains a master storyteller, admirably and sceptically well read in current revisionist histories, and a wonderful guide to a new history of Britain.

The Times

A History of Britain, its text supplemented by wonderful illustrations, affords the rare joy of witnessing a scholar at the peak of his powers convincing the reader that he has a cracking good tale to tell and that he is loving every minute of the telling.

Literary Review

Simon Schama's A History of Britain is far more than the book of the TV series... The book is far richer and fuller, covering a huge span so economically that there is room for plenty of arresting detail... It is the sort of vivid history that keeps you awake.

Daily Mail

Remarkably vivid pictures... A decade on, Schama's study remains a terrific read.

Paul Lay, History Today

A bravura performance by the Lord Macaulay of our day.

David Cannadine, The Observer

Schama has a masterly ability to conjure up character and vivify conflict.

Ben Rogers, Financial Times

Popular history at its finest.

Express on Sunday

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Formats & editions

  • A History of Britain - Volume 1
    Simon Schama

    EBook

    9781409018247

    November 30, 2011

    Vintage Digital

    352 pages

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  • Trade Paperback

    9781847920126

    January 1, 2010

    Bodley Head

    352 pages

    RRP $45.00

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