A Short History of England: The Glorious Story of a Rowdy Nation.

Kayt Sukel, Author
Simon Jenkins. PublicAffairs, $35 (384p) ISBN 9781610391429
Reviewed on: 12/05/2011
Release date: 11/01/2011
Ebook - 385 pages - 978-1-61039-143-6
Open Ebook - 577 pages - 978-1-84765-756-5
Paperback - 319 pages - 978-1-61039-231-0
Paperback - 978-1-84668-611-5
Hardcover - 400 pages - 978-1-4712-7163-2
Open Ebook - 385 pages - 978-1-281-74555-2
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A fresh treatment of an old subject by the British journalist and Chairman of the National Trust, Jenkins' (England's Thousand Best Houses) conclusion provides a standpoint from which to evaluate the whole work, where he writes: "England is losing the will to govern the non-English peoples beyond its borders, even those elsewhere in the British Isles." He sees an English parliament "in partial thrall" to its semi-autonomous Celtic fringe and suggests an English assembly as a counter, with a written code of rights and local democracy. This solution keeps with his historical account of what he calls the English nation, where martial centralization of power has alternated with parliamentary privilege through control of the purse strings. Jenkins shows how democracy evolved from the monarchy's need for tax revenues as leverage against the increase of parliamentary power, creating financial institutions like the City of London. His treatment of the modern era, and Margaret Thatcher's deplorable dismantling of the political institutions of "Little England," closes this insightful look at our British cousins. Agent: Inkwell. (Nov.)
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