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The newest in The Shortest History series brings you a fast-paced tour of 2,000 years of English history, tracing its secret north–south divide and entrenched class system
England—begetter of parliaments and globe-spanning empires, star of beloved period dramas, and home of the House of Windsor—is not quite the stalwart island fortress that many of us imagine. Riven by an ancient fault line that predates even the Romans, its fate has ever been bound up with that of its neighbors; and for the past millennia, it has harbored a class system like nowhere else on Earth.
This bracing tour of the most powerful country in the United Kingdom reveals an England repeatedly invaded and constantly reinvented—yet always fractured by its very own Mason-Dixon Line. It carries us swiftly through centuries of conflict between Crown and Parliament (starring the Magna Carta), America’s War of Independence, the rise and fall of empire, two World Wars, and England’s break from the EU. We discover:
James Hawes studied German at University of Oxford and University College London, then held lectureships in German at the universities of Maynooth, Sheffield, and Swansea. He has published six novels with Jonathan Cape and is also the author of The Shortest History of Germany and The Shortest History of England. He leads the MA in creative writing at Oxford Brookes University. He is Series Story Consultant, on-screen contributor, and writer of the associated book for the major eight-episode BBC TV history of British creativity, These Brilliant Isles: Art That Made Us, to be screened in spring 2022.