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A History of Britain: British Wars, 1603-1776 v.2 (Vol 2) (original 2001; edition 2001)
by Simon Schama
A History of Britain: The Wars of the British 1603-1776 by Simon Schama (2001)
Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0786867523, Hardcover)The beginning of the 17th century promised that England's golden age would long outlast its Elizabethan namesake. Within a few years, that promise would end in civil war, political unrest, and international conflict, a period of strife that would last for two centuries, but produce the modern British nation. In this swiftly moving narrative, the second installment in a three- volume companion to the BBC/History Channel television series, Simon Schama examines key events that would utterly change British life: the collapse of monarchy and republic, the establishment of the beginnings of empire, and the ever-wider division between court and country. The wars that accompanied these turns of fortune were, Schama writes, "eminently unpredictable, improbable, and avoidable." With them came the Glorious Revolution, the bloody suppression of religious dissent, the conquest of neighboring kingdoms, and the wide-scale movement of large populations from one place to another--including the deliberate introduction of nearly 100,000 Scots, Welsh, and English settlers in Ireland, which, Schama writes, "utterly dwarfed the related 'planting' on the Atlantic seaboard of North America." Along the way, Schama considers actors major and minor in this tumultuous play, from the unlucky king Charles I to Oliver Cromwell (who "lacked the one essential characteristic for true dictatorship: a hunger to accumulate power purely for its own sake"), from the writer Daniel Defoe to the pragmatic politician Sir Robert Walpole, from William Pitt to the African slaves who peopled Britain's American colonies.
Though understandably rushed and sometimes unfocused, Schama's narrative ably captures Britain's transformation from island outpost to global power. -- Gregory McNamee
(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:27 -0400)
A comprehensive history of Britain chronicles battles waged by the British, both at home and abroad, details its role as a global power, and examines key events and personalities that shaped more than two centuries of history.
(summary from another edition)
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