Foundation: The History of England Volume I
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The power plays as England pulled together and became a nation has enough intrigue and interesting historical facts to make even the non-history buff enjoy reading it. I've never really 'done' any history - my ideas of the Tudors until recently were Henry VIII = a sort of half-timbered shouting Brian Blessed and Elizabeth I = Miranda Richardson - so I guess I'd probably have liked any book which told their crazy stories fairly competently. Most of her works usually have something to do with the complex interaction between space and time and what he loves to call the spirit of place. He usually traces the changing nature of London and explores this through its artists and especially the authors.
At the start of the sixteenth century, England was a country that was very medieval and often found direction in Rome. Ultimately, it would become a country where not the church but the state was charged with good governance and where women and men began to look for answers in themselves rather than in their rulers.Powerful theologians such as Thomas Cranmer worked on standardised forms of liturgy which were to be used in all churches throughout England.
William Rufus (William II) begins English colonialism. The King’s highways were built to the width of two wagons side by side (thirty feet). Such was English hospitality at the time that when strangers came to your house. they got two free nights there and a free washing of their feet and hands, all for the trade-off of news of the outside world. When kings died, the realm seemed lawless until the next king was installed. The umbrella gets introduced to England. Before 1066, English had names like Leofwine, Aelfwine, Siward and Morcar. Now after Normans names became Robert, Walter, Henry and William. The majority of the country took to the new names. Surnames don’t become popular until the 14th century. Some indicated your profession like the last names of Cook, Barber, Sawyer, Miller, Smith, Brewer, and Carpenter. Other surnames described you: Fitzmorris meant bastard son of Morris. All the Kings from Henry II to Richard III were Plantagenet. The Plantagenet dynasty is replaced by the Tudors. But there’s no denying that we are becoming increasingly skeptical about these grandly inclusive tours d’horizon. They seem to leave a lot out: the experience of women and the working classes and other outsiders often enter only when the ruling elite decides to offer them education, the vote or previously withheld opportunities. Perhaps these massive narratives will disappear like Debenhams, or go into a long, old-fashioned decline like the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Or perhaps they will change into something new. David Kynaston’s wonderful sequence of books about postwar Britain, the latest volume of which is just out, is rooted not in Acts of Parliament but in individual voices, often quite unknown. Dominic Sandbrook’s highly enjoyable books of the same period are unusually responsive to the fast-changing texture of popular culture and are much more evocative than many narrative histories. It was taken for granted that every man must have a lord. Lordship was no longer dependent upon tribal relations, but on the possession of land. Mastery was assumed by those who owned the most territory. No other test of secular leadership was necessary. Land was everything. It was in a literal sense the ground of being. Land granted you power and wealth; it allowed you to dispense gifts and to bend others to your will."
All across the USA, people are showing up dead. The deaths don't appear to be connected in any way until one particular death occurs and gets the Secretary of Defense's attention. He arranges for a task force to investigate. In Foundation, the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death, in 1509, of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past--a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house--and describes in rich prose the successive waves of invaders who made England English, despite being themselves Roman, Viking, Saxon, or Norman French. The author offers thoughtful new insights into age-old discussions of English history. I particularly enjoyed the way the chapters alternate between narratives about the people in power, and descriptions of everyday life.