Simon Schama The second volume of Simon Schama's A History of Britain brings the histories of Britain's civil wars - full of blighted idealism, shocking carnage, and unexpected outcomes - startlingly to life. These conflicts were fought unsparingly between the nations of the islands - Ireland, England, and Scotland - and between Parliament and the crown. Shattering the illusion of a "united kingdom," they cost hundreds of thousands of lives: a greater proportion of the population than died in the First World War.
When religious passion gave way to the equally consuming passion for profits, it became possible for the pieces of Britain to come together as the spectacularly successful business enterprise of "Britannia Incorporated." And in a few generations that business state expanded in a dizzying process that transformed what had been an obscure, off-shore footnote to Europe's great powers into the main event - the most powerful empire in the world.
Yet somehow, it was the "wrong empire." The British considered it a bastion of liberty, yet it was based on military force and the enslavement of hundreds of thousands of Africans. In America, the emptiness of British claims to protect "freedom" was thrown back into the teeth of colonial governors and redcoat soldiers, while the likes of Sam Adams and George Washington inherited the mantle of Cromwell.
Simon Schama grippingly evokes the horror of the battle, famine, and plague; the flames of burning cities; the pathos of broken families, with fathers and sons forced to choose opposing sides. But he also captures the intimacies of palace and Parliament and the seductions of profit and pleasure.
Simon Schama In this, the first volume of an epic history of Britain, one of the most popular and celebrated historians of our day brings the birth and growth of a nation to dramatic life with a wealth of compelling stories and vivid detail.
Simon Schama's narrative moves from the early tribes and invasions of the British isles to the Norman Conquest; through the religious wars and turbulence of the Middle Ages to the sovereignties of Henry II, Richard I, and King John; through the outbreak of the Black Death, which destroyed nearly half of Europe's population; through the reign of Edward I and the growth of national identity in Wales and Scotland; to the turbulent religious and dynastic conflicts of the Tudor age, culminating in the glorious reign of Elizabeth I. The theme of change - sometimes gentle and subtle, sometimes shocking and violent - emerges as the narrative's most powerful dynamic change that washes over custom and habit, transforming loyalties and boundaries.
A History of Britain also poses questions that have universal timeless resonance. What makes or breaks a nation? To whom do you give your allegiance and why? Where do the roots of your community lie - in your hearth and home, your village or city, your tribe, your faith? And, finally, what is Britain? One country or many, one culture or several? This is a touchstone for the present that reintroduces you to the past with stunning energy and clarity.
This is Volume 1 of A History of Britain. Don't miss Volume 2.
Simon Schama Simon Schama's final volume of his epic history of Britain, The Fate of Empire, opens on the eve of a bloody revolution, but not a British one. The French Revolution never actually crossed the Channel, through its spirit of fiery defiance and Romantic idealism did, sparking off a round of radical revolts and reforms that gathered momentum over the coming century - from the Irish Rebellion to the Chartist Petition. The Fate of Empire make stops at celebrations, like the Great Exhibition, and catastrophes, like the Irish potato famine. Amidst the military and economic shocks and traumas of the twentieth century, and through the voices of Churchill, Orwell, and H.G. Wells, Schema asks the question - is the immense weight of British history a blessing, a curse or a milestone around the neck of the future? The Fate of Empire is a compelling epic made more so by lively storytelling and bold character. But alongside flamboyant heroes, Schama recalls unsung heroines, like the Crimean War nurse Mary Seacole, and virtually unknown enemies like Indian Islamic Jihadi warrior Ahmadullah. And with the grand ideas, Schama also exposes the grand illusions that cost untold lives, as when India's viceroys let millions of starving Indians die.
As he brings the narrative up to the present, Schama takes a hard look at ambitious post-World War II liberal dreams and analyzes what happened to them. His conclusions emerge in The Fate of Empire and reveal the living ideals of Britain's long history, "a history that tied together social justice with bloody-minded liberty."
Simon Schama The story of Britain from the earliest settlements in 3000 BC to the death of Elizabeth I in 1603. To look back at the past is to understand the present. In this vivid account of over 4,000 years of British history, Simon Schama takes us on an epic journey which encompasses the very beginnings of the nation's identity, when the first settlers landed on Orkney.
From the successes and failures of the monarchy to the daily life of a Roman soldier stationed on Hadrian's Wall, Schama gives a vivid, fascinating account of the many different stories and struggles that lie behind the growth of our island nation. Simon Schama's major BBC2 series has shown him to be one of our most original and exciting historians.
Simon Schama National Book Critics Circle, Nonfiction, 2007
Rough Crossings turns on a single huge question: if you were black in America at the start of the Revolutionary War, who would you want to win?
Tens of thousands gave their answer, voting with their feet for Britain and King George. In response to a declaration by the last governor of Virginia that any rebel-owned slave who escaped and served the King would be emancipated, tens of thousands of slaves, Americans who clung to the sentimental notion of British freedom, escaped from farms, plantations, and cities to try to reach the British camp. This mass movement lasted as long as the war did, and a military strategy originally designed to break the plantations of the American South had unleashed one of the great exoduses in American history.
With powerfully vivid storytelling, often in the voices of the slaves themselves and the white abolitionists who became their emancipators and protectors, Schama details the odyssey of the escaped blacks through the fires of war and the terror of potential recapture at the war's end, into inhospitable Nova Scotia, where thousands who had served the Crown were betrayed and, in a little-known hegira of the slave epic, sent across the broad, stormy ocean to Sierra Leone.
Simon Schama Timothy West reads the third and concluding volume of award-winning historian Simon Schama's compelling chronicle of the British Isles.
Here he illuminates the period from 1776 to 2000 through a variety of historical themes, including Victorian advances in technology and industry, women's increasing role in society, and the burgeoning British Empire which promised civilisation and material betterment for all. This volume also looks at key characters from the period, including Wordsworth, Burke, Queen Victoria, Churchill, and Orwell, whilst examining some lesser-known lives, such as Elizabeth Garrett Anderson, the first woman doctor, and Mary Seacole, a Jamaican nurse in the Crimea. Finally, Schama reflects on the overwhelming presence of the past in the 20th century, and the struggle of our leaders to find a way of making a different national future.
Simon Schama From one of the truly preeminent historians of our time, this is a landmark book chronicling the French Revolution. Simon Schama deftly refutes the contemporary notion that the French Revolution represented an uprising of the oppressed poor against a decadent aristocracy and corrupt court. He argues instead that the revolution was born of a rift among the elite over the speed of progress toward modernity and science, social and economic change. Schama’s approach, weaving in and out of private and public lives in the fashion of a novel, brings us closer than we have ever been to the harrowing and seductive French Revolution.
Simon Schama is a professor of art history and history at Columbia University and is the author of numerous award-winning books; his history Rough Crossings won the National Book Critics Circle Award for nonfiction. He has written and presented more than thirty documentaries for the BBC, PBS, and the History Channel.
Simon Schama Timothy West reads the second volume of Simon Schama's compelling chronicle of the British Isles.
The British wars began on the morning of 23 July 1637, heralding 200 years of battles. Most were driven by religious or political conviction, as Republicans and Royalists, Catholics and Protestants, Tories and Whigs, and colonialists and natives vied for supremacy. Of the battles not fought on home territory, many took place across Europe, America, India, and also at sea.
Schama's examination of this turbulent period reveals how the British people eventually united in imperial enterprise, forming 'Britannia Incorporated'. The story of that change evokes the memory of such enduringly influential people as Oliver Cromwell, as well as lesser known but equally extraordinary individuals. A story of revolution and reaction, progress and catastrophe, this is a vivid account of two centuries which changed Britain.
Simon Schama Acclaimed historian and award-winning author Simon Schama offers an essential historical perspective on the crucial 2008 presidential election and its importance for reclaiming America's original ideal. It's not business as usual. Cultural hostilities more irreconcilable than any since the Civil War have divided America in two. In November 2008, the American people elected a new president, feeling more anxious about the future of the nation than at any time since Watergate. Our omnipotent military, the cornucopia of material comforts available, the security of our borders, and the global economy can no longer be taken for granted.
In The American Future, historian Simon Schama takes a long look at the multiple crises besetting the United States and asks how these problems look in the mirror of time. In four crucial debates - on wars, religion, race and immigration, and the relationship between natural resources and prosperity - Schama looks back to see more clearly into the future.
Full of lost insights, The American Future showcases Schama's acclaimed gift for storytelling, ensuring these voices will be heard again.
Simon Schama Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of The Face of Britain by Simon Schama, read by Simon Schama and Roy McMillian.
Churchill and his painter locked in a struggle of stares and glares; Gainsborough watching his daughters run after a butterfly; a naked John Lennon five hours before his death. Simon Schama has written a tour de force about British portraits over the centuries in which the image-maker, the subject and everyone else looking on are brought unforgettably to life.
Mesmerising in its extraordinary storytelling, The Face of Britain will change the way we see our past - and ourselves.