The Oxford Companion to British History

ISBN 13: 9780198661764

The Oxford Companion to British History

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9780198661764: The Oxford Companion to British History

Few countries can boast a history as endlessly intricate and fascinatingly complex as Britain. From the Glorious Revolution to the invention of golf, British history is a rich tapestry of enigmatic personalities, contentious politics, indelible legacies, and stunning achievements. For centuries, Britain has been a world leader and innovator, yet its distinct culture, with its fondness for royalty, lukewarm ale and left-hand side driving, remains, at times, impenetrable to the outsider. Now, in The Oxford Companion to British History, readers have a comprehensive and authoritative perspective into all the idiosyncrasies and nuances that make British history so uniquely British.
Featuring 4000 A-Z entries written by 120 of the leading political, social, economic, and military scholars in the United Kingdom and Ireland, this single volume reference offers a wealth of information on British history. The Oxford Companion to British History covers all facets of this storied subject, from the arrival of Julius Caesar on British shores in 55 B.C. to John Majors ill-fated back to basics initiative in the 1990s. Readers can explore this rich 2000-year history with insightful and meticulous descriptions of every important person, place, date, and movement in this fabled country, including the political legacies of the Magna Carta and the Gunpowder Plot, the legendary reigns of such monarchs as Henry VIII and Queen Victoria, the social movements of the Luddites and the Parlimentarians, cultural and artistic phenomena like Romanticism and neo-classical architecture, and the scientific achievements of Newton and Darwin. Here the etymology of the cardigan sweater (named after Crimean War hero James Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan) and the biography of Mary Wollstonecraft, author of Vindication of the Rights of Women (1792), get equal billing with such familiar figures as William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, and Elizabeth I. In addition, general interest articles on topics like the monarchy and the Second World War are interspersed with more esoteric subjects like Ida, the sixth century king of Bernicia, to create a complete reference of British history. Whether your interest lies in the Beatles, Robin Hood, Northern Ireland, John Locke, the Tower of London, Gothic Architecture, Princess Diana, or beagling (the hunting of hares on foot with the aid of beagle hounds), nothing is slighted.
Designed for ease of use, the Companion offers ample cross-referencing between essay-length articles and short, quick-reference entries, supported by 12 detailed maps and an exemplary general index. Ideal for everyone with an interest in British history, The Oxford Companion to British History is the definitive window into this fascinating world.

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Review:

From "Abbeys," monastic organizations that were important in local-level medieval government, to "Zutphen, Battle of," where the great poet Sir Philip Sidney lost his life in 1586, this 1,000-plus-page tome offers an erudite register of all things British. Editor John Cannon's emphases are sometimes idiosyncratic--the entry for the Beatles, inarguably influential in British and world history, is as short as that for "beagling," a particular kind of rabbit hunting. The Oxford Companion to British History is an invaluable and well-written resource for Anglophiles nonetheless.

About the Author:


About the Editor:
John Cannon was formerly Professor of Modern History at The University of Newcastle upon Tyne. His books include The Oxford Illustrated History of the British Monarchy and The Blackwell Dictionary of Historians.

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