Modern Britain is a nation shaped by wars. The boundaries of its separate parts are the outcome of conquest and resistance. The essence of its identity are the warrior heroes, both real and imagined, who still capture the national imagination; from Boudicca to King Arthur, William Wallace to Henry V, the Duke of Wellington to Winston Churchill. In ...
Modern Britain is a nation shaped by wars. The boundaries of its separate parts are the outcome of conquest and resistance. The essence of its identity are the warrior heroes, both real and imagined, who still capture the national imagination; from Boudicca to King Arthur, William Wallace to Henry V, the Duke of Wellington to Winston Churchill. In WARRIOR RACE, Lawrence James investigates the role played by war in the making of Britain. Drawing on the latest historical and archaeological research, as well as numerous unfamiliar and untapped resources, he charts the full reach of British military history: the physical and psychological impact of Roman military occupation; the monarchy's struggle for mastery of the British Isles; the civil wars of the seventeenth century; the 'total war' experience of twentieth century conflict. WARRIOR RACE is popular history at its very best: immaculately researched and hugely readable. Balancing the broad sweep of history with an acute attention to detail, Lawrence James never loses sight of this most fascinating and enduring of subjects: the question of British national identity and character.
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Publishers Weekly, 2002-11-18 This imposing history of is less a recounting of British feats of arms than of the creation of a British nation by the wars in the British Isles-England, Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Beginning with the Roman conquest, James (The Rise and Fall of the British Empire) proceeds through the Anglo-Saxons and Normans into the Middle Ages, and then marches through the civil wars, the continental wars from 1689 through 1815 and the colonial conflicts (mostly won, except for the American Revolution). The entire second half of the book covers the two world wars and their aftermath, where the United Kingdom assembled in the first half of the book exhausted itself (though not without valuable results) in two global conflicts and the twilight of empire. While a valuable summation throughout, the real splendor of the book is in its illustrative examples of the context in which the fighting men (and eventually women) were raised, and the impact of their experiences on the larger culture. Consider that a medieval knight's warhorse cost far more than his armor, that the author's mother-in-law had rationing brought home to her by bloaters (a fish) for breakfast and that residual patriotism accounts for the current seller's market in works on the Special Air Service. Less charming are the tragedy of Anglo-Irish relations and the outrageous racism of Allied soldiers in England during WWII. The book's comparative emphasis on ground forces will rankle those who believe, justly, that it was the Royal Navy (and later the Royal Air Force) that transformed the nature of British military power. While not for people who insist on narrative and not for beginners on the subject, this big book will be worthwhile for everybody else with an interest in history. (Feb.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
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