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The English

The English

Geoffrey Elton

ISBN: 978-0-631-19606-8 February 1995 Wiley-Blackwell 264 Pages


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A survey of the English experience through a thousand years and more, this book concentrates on the lasting characteristics of a people who early on discovered the fact of a national identity. The outstanding hallmarks of this experience were the existence of a strong central authority (in the monarchy), the provision of a system of law, and with these two the possibility of preserving individual rights and liberties in the face of a long sequence of historical vicissitudes.
List of Plates.

List of Figures.



1. The Emergence of England.

2. Communitas Anglie.

3. The First English Empire.

4. From Cromwell to Cromwell.

5. The Long Eighteenth Century.

6. The Great Climacteric.

Further Reading.


"This book will surely be recognised as the best single-volume concise history of England - lively, authoritative, and yet personal and humane. Only Elton could have written it." Michael Clanchy

"This work is thoughtful, witty, and graceful in style, a marvel of compression ... Elton argues forcefully that the English formed, and were formed by, a unique reconciliation of individual freedom with monarchically supervised order. Like Joseph Strayer's on The Medieval Origins of the Modern State (1986), this splendid work is a brief distillation of a lifetime of thoughtful scholarship and deep reflection." Choice

"Anyone may enjoy this book." The Times

"A study that is both authoritative and individualistic, showing a full awareness but not a full acceptance of recent research." Teaching History

* The first single-volume history of England and the English since G. N. Clark's in 1971.
* Written by one of the world's best known and most distinguished historians.
* Illustrated by maps, plus a full chronology and family trees.
* Over 12000 sold in hardback.