When I asked for this book for Christmas from my wife, I had been under the impression it dealt with the genetics of the British people. The book does do this, but it is hardly the primary focus. I quickly was over any disappointment as the book captured my attention through sharp, crisp writing, a plethora of engaging facts, and seamless storytelling.
The book deals with the subject of just who the British people are and how they came to be. Woven into the tapestry of the tale are the histories of the pre-historic people of Britain, of the Celts and Picts, the Britons, the Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Vikings, Normans and every people and culture who have contributed to the bloodlines of the British people.
This is not a history of the Kings and Queens of England, or the hundreds of battles fought, or of the Empire. It is truly a history and an examination of the people of the British Isles.
One quickly comes to understand that it is impossible to define virtually anyone in Britain as simply "English" or "Ango-Saxon" or "Irish" - that the vast internal and external migrations and transpositions of people, language and culture that have occured over the millenia serve to blur the lines that supposedly differentiate the various home nations in terms of ancestry.
So many notable books concentrate solely on the English or on the Scots or only on the Irish, and many books that focus on Britain give only passing mention to the home nations other than England and her people. The Tribes of Britain is an excellent bit of writing about the British people as a whole and would be of interest to students of history and to the many people with any sort of British ancestry.