Monday 7 November 2016

Book Review: The History of England Vol. I - Foundation by Peter Ackroyd

Title: The History of England Vol. I - Foundation 
Author: Peter Ackroyd 
Publisher: Pan 
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 500 
Format: Paperback 
Genre: Non-Fiction / History 
Source: Bought Copy
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Having written enthralling biographies of London and of its great river, the Thames, Peter Ackroyd now turns to England itself. This first volume of six takes us from the time that England was first settled, more than 15,000 years ago, to the death in 1509 of the first Tudor monarch, Henry VII. In it, Ackroyd takes us from Neolithic England, which we can only see in the most tantalising glimpses – a stirrup found in a grave, some seeds at the bottom of a bowl – to the long period of Roman rule; from the Dark Ages when England was invaded by a ceaseless tide of Angles, Saxons and Jutes, to the twin glories of medieval England – its great churches and monasteries and its common law. With his extraordinary skill for evoking time and place, he tells the familiar story of king succeeding king in rich prose, with profound insight and some surprising details. The food we ate, the clothes we wore, the punishments we endured, even the jokes we told are all found here, too. (Goodreads Synopsis)

I enjoy Peter Ackroyd's non-fiction writing as his prose is always engaging and story-like while also including so much detail and careful research. Foundation is a wonderful start to this new series, which I look forward to reading in its entirety once completed. Although I'm already pretty well versed in English history, I learnt a few new things along the way and I particularly appreciate Peter's unbiased accounts of the different kings and queens of early England. Now on to book two and the Tudors!

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