British history book recommendation

Aug 2019
1
France
#1
Hello everyone,

I am currently looking for different books about British history. I would like a concise one about the whole history of Britain from Celts to nowadays and 2 on specific periods : the war of the roses and the 100 years war. I don't know if Simon Jenkins' "A Short History of England" is the best option for the concise one.
For the War of the Roses, Dan Jones' books seem widely popular...
As you can tell, I'm not sure which book to choose and I hope you will be so kind as to suggest your top choices.

Thanks in advance

(PS : I hope there's not a similar thread already, I tried to find it but didn't managed to)
 
May 2008
4,466
Fireland
#2
For the 100 years war it's hard to look beyond Jonathan Sumption's epic five volume treatment (four of which are complete). I enjoyed Alison Weir's treatment of the War of the Roses but that was a while back and there's probably been a whole host of new publications since. . Single volume, single author studies of the whole of British history are hard to recommend as the treatment tends to be unbearably superficial in places; as is inevitable when a general historian intrudes upon the domain of career specialists. That said, Norman Davis 'The Isles' is a cracking read, stimulating and unconventional.
 
Sep 2015
1,805
England
#7
Hello everyone,

I am currently looking for different books about British history. I would like a concise one about the whole history of Britain from Celts to nowadays and 2 on specific periods : the war of the roses and the 100 years war. I don't know if Simon Jenkins' "A Short History of England" is the best option for the concise one.
For the War of the Roses, Dan Jones' books seem widely popular...
As you can tell, I'm not sure which book to choose and I hope you will be so kind as to suggest your top choices.

Thanks in advance

(PS : I hope there's not a similar thread already, I tried to find it but didn't managed to)
The Simon Jenkins is definitely NOT the book to go for. He is disingenuous and untrustworthy. He does not respect the truth, and is therefore worthless and pointless.

I wouldn't watch any TV prog on history to find out about history, except Mary Beard.
 

Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,378
Albuquerque, NM
#8
Perhaps a bit long in the tooth, but read Churchill's History of Britain. Then when you draft your essay there will be ample opportunity to compare, contrast and update the scholarship.

I'm not familiar with Sumpion's work, but it sounds like the hot tip for a concentrated dose of the Hundred Years War. It very likely sets the stage for one of the most influential of the English/French conflicts arising from the Duke of Normandy becoming King of England making a shambles of the Feudal hierarchy. Henry III's campaigns and battles are often cited as great military efforts, yet they counted for little except as they drained resources and added to taxation. Romantic stuff of heroic proportions, but really often a muck up by both sides. I'd like to get my hands of this suggested work for a year or two.

The Wars of the Roses may well be the subject of the final volume since they resulted from the fall of the Plantagenets and the chaos of founding the new Tudor dynasty.

Avoid using popular books and media that are almost universally produced and distributed to a mass audience whose curiosity and understanding are at a Classic Comic's level. Without footnotes, notes, bibliography, and indexes such sources will only make your thoughts seem trivial and uninformed. Not good in any sort of academic environment.
 

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