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One Man's England Paperback – 1 May 1978

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: BBC Books; 1st Trade Paperback edition (May 1978)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0563175192
  • ISBN-13: 978-0563175193
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 17.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,654,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

William George Hoskins CBE FBA (22 May 1908 - 11 January 1992) was an English local historian who founded the first university department of English Local History. His great contribution to the study of history was in the field of landscape history. Hoskins demonstrated the profound impact of human activity on the evolution of the English landscape in a pioneering book: The Making of the English Landscape. His work has had lasting influence in the fields of local and landscape history and historical and William George Hoskins was born at 26-28 St David's Hill, Exeter, Devon on 22 May 1908: his father, like his grandfather, was a baker.[1] He won a scholarship to Hele's School in 1918, and attended the University College of South West England where he gained BSc and MSc degrees in economics by the age of 21.[2] Both his MSc in 1929 and his PhD in 1938 were on the history of Devon.[3] The remainder of his life was devoted to university teaching and the authorship of historical works. He died on 11 January 1992 in Cullompton, Devon.[

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By Nicholas Casley TOP 500 REVIEWER on 19 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
‘One Man’s England’ is WG Hoskins’s book of his TV series called ‘Landscapes of England’. Now what we need is to see the TV series available on DVD. Hoskins says that the twelve chapters deal with parts of England “I knew well and about which I had something to say that was new.” Much research has flowed under the bridges of these landscapes since the 1970s, of course.

Following Hoskins’s remonstrance to historians of the landscape to get out into the fields and get your boots dirty, the book has less text than illustrations. Thus each chapter consists of four to six pages of writing followed by six to twelve captioned figures. I found it better to do the figures before reading the text. The illustrations themselves are mostly either colour or monochrome photographs, but there is also a number of maps, plans, and even a watercolour of Ivychurch that was “specially painted for the book by John Piper.”

Not long previously Hoskins had also written a book called ‘English Landscapes’ (separately reviewed by me), but whereas that book took a subject and concisely examined it from different local angles, ‘One Man’s England’ looks at the local angles themselves. Those angles are: -

1. Ancient Dorset
2. The Lake District: The Conquest of the Mountains
3. North Norfolk: Marsh and Sea
4. Kent (actually Kent and Sussex): Landscapes of War & Peace
5. The Black Country
6. The Deserted Midlands (or more particularly, Oxfordshire)
7. Cornwall: Behind the Scenery
8. Leicestershire: The Fox and the Covert
9. Derbyshire: No Stone Unturned
10. Norfolk & Suffolk: Breckland & Broads
11. Northumberland: The Making of a Frontier
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Format: Paperback
This book was based on the author's TV series, "Landscapes of England", broadcast in the 1970s - I missed it and presumably now, regrettably, it is lost to the ages, like so much priceless stuff from the BBC's "Golden Age". Nonetheless, this 144 page book is very interesting and informative, its chapters giving a brief overview of the dozen areas covered, drawing attention to the various human, historical, geological and geographical factors influencing the evolution of the landscape. The book is generously illustrated with b&w and colour photographs, and outline maps. The Midlands, most familiar to me, are well covered; the lead mining of Derbyshire, the iron workings of Black Country and the fox hunting landscape of East Leicestershire subjected to particular insights, befitting Hoskins' pioneering work at the University of Leicester, in local history and the history of landscape. Though often crabby and critical in his descriptions, the work is humorous and sympathetic throughout, and its final chapter, on the author's native county, Devon, find the best and most affectionate portrait of our wonderful country.
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