Barely a page fails to yield some colourful historical nugget. --Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Telegraph on Whitehall
Brown is a cheerful guide - full of anecdotes and observations. --The Guardian on WhitehallShortlisted for Total Politics Best Political History of the Year
“Absolutely fascinating… It will ignite many debates over pub tables up and down the land.” David Cameron
‘In a most seductive way [Brown] induces you to accompany him on his visits to Tilbury for Queen Elizabeth’s Armada speech, to Hougoumont for Waterloo, to Park Hospital in Trafford, the birthplace of the NHS… and surprises and astounds in equal measure by what he has unearthed… Riveting [and] a fantastic way to become passionately immersed in our island story.’ Barry Sheerman MP, The House
‘Brown investigates the truth behind major events in British history, taking in the Battle of Waterloo, the Falklands and the suffragettes… to create a vivid picture.’ Big Issue
Acclaimed author and veteran political reporter Colin Brown travels to the places where British history was made to unearth what makes this nation truly great. Was the longbow behind the landmark victory at Azincourt, or was it just that the English are better in mud? Did Queen Elizabeth I, a master of spin, know the Armada had capitulated when she drafted one of history’s most inspiring speeches? Who should be given credit – or blame – for today’s NHS? Was the Falklands War proof of Mrs Thatcher’s steely resolve or a grasping imperial folly? Was David Cameron right in announcing 1940 as Britain’s proudest year? Or should we give more due to the suffragette movement, the abolition of slavery, and the sealing of the Great Charter, Magna Carta, and its role in securing the rights of citizens – watershed events for democracy, but all with secret stories to share? These moments are among the top candidates to be Britain’s proudest year, in terms of both their historical legacy and their public following. Yet, befitting the politics of history-making, each was crafted by the propaganda artists of the day. To uncover the truth, it takes an intrepid reporter willing to squeeze around barbed wire, get down in the mud and take tea with a former War Cabinet minister. From the famous Battle of Waterloo to Brixham in Devon (the site of another, somewhat lesser known glorious episode), Colin Brown shows us the events and characters we believe we know so well – but how much of what we know is the truth?