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Readable but lopsided
on 6 July 2014
Ackroyd writes,"When we turn from the affairs of the great to the smaller lives of England we often find misery and discontent."
Yes, well , I am sure we do but you wouldn't know it from this book because he simply turns his back on any sort of social history whatsoever and gives us no idea of how even the middle classes might have lived let alone the humble.
And while he purports to be narrating a synthesis of the latest research and findings of this period there are many serious omissions as, for example,of the intimate life of Elizabeth which have been common knowledge since the late sixties and which go a long way to explain why she never married.
He writes well and is easy to read but in the end you leave his book with the feeling of being bashed about the head too many times such is the relentlessness of his account of executions and betrayals.
There's much more to history than this.
What about the other possible view of history as summed up so succinctly by Don DeLillo: "History is longing on a large scale."?