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Our Englishness Paperback – 1 Dec 2000

4.0 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 118 pages
  • Publisher: Anglo-Saxon Books (Dec. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1898281246
  • ISBN-13: 978-1898281245
  • Product Dimensions: 0.6 x 16.5 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,113,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


This work features contributions from seven writers who are positive about Englishness and their English identity. They argue for the existence of an English nation defined in terms of history, culture and community. They reject the "civic-society" and "civic nationalism" approach that current ideological orthodoxy demands.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
While the contributors explore their own widely varying interpretions of what it is to be English or of English descent, and you will not agree with them all, there is a common thread running throughout this series of essays. It is that whatever happens to England, whatever happens in this age of globalisation, you will always be English. That Englishness is not in the "Land of Hope and Glory" British sense, nor in that of the football fan. It is in the knowledge that our ancestors who as far back as what is often ignorantly called the "Dark Ages" created an England, our language etc, and unique attitudes which will always be be with us and cannot be taken from us. Just as peoples of other nations may hold a quiet pride in their roots, so should we in ours.
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Format: Paperback
The seven writers included here are all positive and informed about the English identity. Underlying all the contributions is the question -what is a Nation? For me the most interesting answer was given by Tony Linsell. He points out that many "use the word state and nation as if they are interchangable". The word nation, however, is far from a synonym for state. Just ask the Kurds or Tibetans. Linsell argues that kinship is one factor which determines membership of a nation. He draws attention to the fact that the US Government used ancestry to establish membership of an Indian nation in dealing with land rights claims.
Many people confuse "British" identity with nationhood in our country. Being British is "not a national identity but a civic identity". This confusion has, in my view, been cultivated over the years for State purposes. It has encouraged people to identify with the aims of the State and establishment. If you start to understand that the State does not merely serve and reflect the interests of the people and nation you become aware of the possibility of conflict between the two - Nation against State.
Of course English people are becoming more aware of identity questions. They are challenged without by the growth in power of international economic and political structures which question even a British identity and from within by Welsh and Scottish disaffection with the Union. I fear that at present the identity created in response will be bitter, twisted and reactionary. It need not be like this and it is people like the contributors to this work who may make a difference to the outcome.
I would have liked to see more debate within the book with some people questioning whether the renewal of English identity was practical or desirable. I suspect, however, that the publishers felt that there was no shortage of that type of work available!
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Format: Paperback
This is an interesting read providing much background material to the English national heritage. However, the contributions from the various individual authors, although informative in their own right, do not complement each other and there is therefore a 'fragmented' feel to the whole book. The views expressed on Nations and Nationalism are especially relevant to the current problems facing the English's attempts to define themselves in view of the likely dissolution of the Union. Disappointingly, this book will not help the reader to discover the meaning of 'Englishness' and does not successfully address the place of Englishness in the future.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.0 out of 5 stars 1 review
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice Introduction 12 Jan. 2002
By Tom Blair - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is a disparate collection of essays (plus one short story) written around English identity. It is fun for someone like me who is English and looking towards my ethnic identity for a spiritual home in multi-ethnic, 20th-century America. I don't think Our Englishness would be interesting to someone who is not English however.
Editor Tony Linsell correctly defines "Englishness" as a people rather than place. This puts him at odds with the politically correct - which adds to the appeal of the book. It also provides the real focus of this book - English people, and the qualities that make them English.
The highlight of the book for me was Kathleen Herbert's short story Alone At Monster-Gate, a story describing events behind the earliest manifestation of English nationalism in the Cimbric peninsula of southern Denmark around the year 400AD.
I enjoyed the juxtaposition of English Orthodox Fr. Andrew Phillips (The Resurrection of England) with modern-day Anglo-Saxon heathen Garman Lord (On Being English In America). The former sees the rise of Englishness as springing from the nation-building and culture-building in the 8th-century by the Christian king Alfred The Great; the latter seeks to reclaim the past through English tribalism and the pre-Christian values innate in the English folk-soul (exemplified in Old English literature such as Beowulf).
The book has too broad a focus to make it suitable for anyone other than people with an interest in their own English identity. It covers nationalism, political theory, history, culture, literature, spirituality, and language - but does not focus on any of these elements - and certainly not with academic rigor. It is best described as a collection of intensely personal ruminations about what it means to be English today.
Socrates said "The unexamined life is not worth living." Sadly in today's rootless, multi-cultural, democratic states like Great Britain and America, intense self-examination leads to loneliness and soul-sickness. If you are English and lonely, this book may help you find your way home.
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