on 25 December 2000
A book of history, not concerned with the hatsize of kings or drowns itself with references to one obscure Act of Parliament after the other,is quite a rare thing to come by. This book is concerned with everything. It puts the ordinary man in the high seat and, after you read it, you really get a feling of having been there yourself. Whether it be the rise of the First English Standard or the Peterloo Massacre, Trevelyan makes you experiance history in a truly intense way.
on 8 January 2016
Patriotism is a word usually used with some intent to deceive, or to attack something other than the ostensible object of the patriotism. But Trevelyan's (Shortened) History of England would seem to be a patriotic book that is entirely positive.
It’s quite accessible for those who have only a passing knowledge of British (mostly English) history. Some episodes are dealt with in a way readers not already steeped in the tradition will find adequate, others will need some illumination from other works. But it's a cohesive story, and probably a good initial brush-up for those who haven't read such stuff since their early schooling.
I said that Trevelyan is patriotic. He was writing in the early part of the 20th century, and was proud of England. He believed the Celtic, Anglo-Saxon and Scandinavian were the basis for something good. This good thing got much better with the Conquest by the Normans, and became, with Henry the Second, in hindsight, the prototype for the best polities in the world, those of the English-speaking peoples.
His style is rich and direct at the same time. An easy but edifying read. Any literate person who doesn't hate England will enjoy it, especially if English is a language they have known since early on in life.
I haven't read the six full volumes of which this is an abridgement, and have not heard a description of the method whereby this abridgement was made.