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England: The Autobiography: 2,000 Years of English History by Those Who Saw it Happen [Kindle Edition]

John Lewis-Stempel
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Fountainhead of democracy, engine of the Industrial Revolution, epicentre of the globe's greatest empire and the first-ditch stand against an expansionist Germany in two world wars: England's history is among the most fascinating and influential the world has ever known.

This volume presents that history in unique form: first-hand, through the words of those who saw it and those who made it. All the great events of the last 2,000 years are here: the Norman Conquest, Magna Carta, the Peasants' Revolt, Henry VIII's break with Rome, the Great Fire of London, Nelson at Trafalgar, two world wars. Alongside these are the less obvious happenings which together capture the nation's social history, such as the Black Death of 1349 or life as a chimney sweep in 1817. And of couse there are the things that have shaped the nature of 'Englishness', like theatregoing in Elizabethan London, fox hunting in 1898, Oates's self-sacrifice at the South Pole, the Beatles and the 1966 World Cup.

Presented chronologically and a joy to read whether cover-to-cover or dipped into as a treasury of sources, England: The Autobiography offers an intimate, vivid and revealing portrait of England and the English - and the unique place of both in world history.

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Product Description


'What does it mean to be English? Lewis-Stempel gives us a clue with this superb collection . . . A triumph' -- Saul David

About the Author

John Lewis-Stempel is the author and editor of numerous books. He lives with his family in Herefordshire where he farms rare-breed cattle.

John Lewis-Stempel is a writer and farmer. He lives with his wife and two children in Herefordshire, where the last of England runs into Wales. His many previous books include Fatherhood: An Anthology and D-Day: As They Saw It.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 823 KB
  • Print Length: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin (6 July 2006)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002RI99PA
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #399,879 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

John Lewis-Stempel is an award-winning writer predominantly known for his books on nature and history. He lives in Herefordshire, on the very edge of England before it runs into Wales, and within a stone's throw (with a decent gust of wind) from where his family were farming in the 1300s. His many books include the best-selling Six Weeks, Fatherhood: The Anthology, England: The Autobiography, The Autobiography of the British Soldier (Sunday Express '5 stars') and The Wild Life (Sunday Telegraph 'Timely and Compelling') and Foraging: The Essential Guide to Free Wild Food. His books have been published in languages as diverse as Brazilian Portuguese and Japanese, are available on all continents apart from Antarctica, and have sold more than a million copies. He has two degrees in history, writes books under the pen name Jon E. Lewis, is married with two children, and also farms. The Guardian's video interview with him about The Wild Life can be seen at
Six Weeks, his book about British frontline officers in the First World War, published in November 2010 by Weidenfeld & Nicolson was described by The Literary Review as 'the most moving book I have ever read on the First World War' and Dan Stevens (Matthew Crawley in Downton Abbey) said it was 'the best research resource ever.' The book became a number 1 bestseller in WW1 category on Amazon.His 'The War Behind the Wire', about the life, death and glory of British PoWs in WW1 was published in January 2014, and his Sunday Times Top 30 hardback non-fiction bestseller Meadowland: The Private Life of an English Field was released in May 2014. The book was featured on Radio 4's Start the Week, and won the 2015 Thwaites Wainwright Prize for Nature Writing; it was also shortlisted for BBC Countryfile Book of the Year 2014. He is currently writing 'Where Poppies Blow: The British Soldier, Nature, and the Great War', which is due for publication in November 2015

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Customer Reviews

4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars England: The Autobiography: The Review 24 Aug. 2007
In short, I like it. This book focuses on some of the most famous occurrences in English history (the Roman Conquest, Battle of Hastings, the Industrial Revolution, the Blitz). It doesn't however, just retell these stories from a historian's viewpoint; it very cleverly tells the story of English history by piecing together articles written by those who witnessed it firsthand.

Admittedly, i am very keen on history, particularly that involving history relative to myself. This book however, gave me a sense of patriotism that the standard history textbooks don't give. I can't really explain why, but the way the book is set out just works!

One issue i do have though is the inclusion of modern events. I know there are more articles to choose from to describe modern events, but i really wouldn't class "England's Ashes win over Australia" in 2006 as on the same level at sculpting our English heritage as the Norman Conquest.

Even so, this comes highly recommended!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
An enjoyble collection of first hand pieces which build together to give a really vivid portrait of England. The editor's links provide narrative, so I found I could dip into the book - or read it page after page. I bought this book because I'd already bought a book on the Great war by the author and was as plesed with this.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating 26 Aug. 2011
I expected this to be a bit of a mish-mash, potboiler of a book with cobbled together bits and bobs. I thought I would be disappointed - but I wasn't at all. The different glimpses into our history are well chosen, and the fact that the stories are being told by eye-witnesses to the events in every case is a great way of learning about the different periods and events. The individual itens are all of an easily readable length, and each time I finished one I found I just wanted to keep moving on to the next one! This is a must for anyone even remotely, vaguely interested in history!
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it's handy to have so many original documents in one book. I thought the comments by the author were rather superficial, and did not often explain who the authors were and what their bias might have been. I found this disappointing and meant that the lack of context limited the value of the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A good read 26 Feb. 2014
By ffurby
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read the London one by the same author led me to purchase this. I am not disappointed, an easy read with graphical accounts that you can pick up and put down and continue as you wish.
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3.0 out of 5 stars a good book 11 Jun. 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I quite liked this book but some areas I thought were a bit weak. A general reading book for those not wanting to look too deeply into history.
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