Book picks similar to
Secret Britain: Unearthing Our Mysterious Past by Mary-Ann Ochota
Home: A Time Traveller's Tales from Britain's Prehistory
Francis Pryor - 2014
In Home, the Time Team expert explores the first nine thousand years of life in Britain, from the retreat of the glaciers to the Romans' departure. Tracing the settlement of domestic communities, he shows how archaeology enables us to reconstruct the evolution of habits, traditions and customs. But this, too, is Francis Pryor's own story: of his passion for unearthing our past, from Yorkshire to the west country, Lincolnshire to Wales, digging in freezing winters, arid summers, mud and hurricanes, through frustrated journeys and euphoric discoveries. Evocative and intimate, Home shows how, in going about their daily existence, our prehistoric ancestors created the institution that remains at the heart of the way we live now: the family.'Under his gaze, the land starts to fill with tribes and clans wandering this way and that, leaving traces that can still be seen today . . . Pryor feels the land rather than simply knowing it' - Guardian Former president of the Council for British Archaeology, Dr Francis Pryor has spent over thirty years studying our prehistory. He has excavated sites as diverse as Bronze Age farms, field systems and entire Iron Age villages. He appears frequently on TV's Time Team and is the author of The Making of the British Landscape, Seahenge, as well as Britain BC and Britain AD, both of which he adapted and presented as Channel 4 series.Show More Show Less
The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places
Neil Oliver - 2018
From north to south, east to west it cradles astonishing beauty. The human story here is a million years old, and counting. But the tolerant, easygoing peace we enjoy has been hard won. We have made and known the best and worst of times. We have been hero and villain and all else in between, and we have learned some lessons.The Story of the British Isles in 100 Places is Neil’s very personal account of what makes these islands so special, told through the places that have witnessed the unfolding of our history. Beginning with footprints made in the sand by humankind’s earliest ancestors, he takes us via Romans and Vikings, the flowering of religion, through civil war, industrial revolution and two world wars. From windswept headlands to battlefields, ancient trees to magnificent cathedrals, each of his destinations is a place where, somehow, the spirit of the past seems to linger. Beautifully written, his book is majestic, awe-inspiring, a kaleidoscopic history of a place with a story like no other.
A History of Britain: At the Edge of the World? 3500 BC-AD 1603
Simon Schama - 2000
Schama, the author of the highly acclaimed Citizens and The Embarrassment of Riches, is one of the most popular and celebrated historians of our day, and in this magnificent work he brings history to dramatic life with a wealth of stories and vivid, colorful detail, reanimating familiar figures and events and drawing them skillfully into a powerful and compelling narrative. Schama's perspective moves from the birth of civilization to the Norman Conquest; through the religious wars and turbulance of the Middle Ages to the sovereignties of Henry II, Richard I and King John; through the outbreak of the Black Death, which destroyed nearly half of Europe's population, through the reign of Edward I and the growth of national identity in Wales and Scotland, to the intricate conflicts of the Tudors and the clash between Elizabeth I and Mary Queen of Scots. Driven by the drama of the stories themselves but exploring at the same time a network of interconnected themes--the formation of a nation state, the cyclical nature of power, the struggles between the oppressors and the oppressed--this is a superbly readable and illuminating account of a great nation, and its extraordinary history.
Unofficial Britain: Journeys Through Unexpected Places
Gareth E. Rees - 2020
A Britain in the cracks of the urban facade where unexpected life can flourish. Welcome to UNOFFICIAL BRITAIN.; This is a land of industrial estates and electricity pylons, of motorway service stations and haunted council houses, of roundabouts and flyovers.; Places where modern life speeds past but where people and stories nevertheless collect. Places where human dramas play out: stories of love, violence, fear, boredom and artistic expression.; Places of ghost sightings, first kisses, experiments with drugs, refuges for the homeless, hangouts for the outcasts.; Struck by the power of these stories and experiences, Gareth E. Rees set out to explore these spaces and the essential part they have played in the history and geography of our isles.; Though mundane and neglected, they can be as powerfully influential in our lives, and imaginations, as any picture postcard tourist destination.; This is Unofficial Britain, a personal journey along the edges of a landscape brimming with mystery, tragedy and myth. (From Waterstone's product page).
Watling Street: Travels Through Britain and Its Ever-Present Past
John Higgs - 2017
Gradually that path became a track, and the track became a road. It connected the White Cliffs of Dover to the Druid groves of the Welsh island of Anglesey, across a land that was first called Albion then Britain, Mercia and eventually England and Wales. Armies from Rome arrived and straightened this 444 kilometres of meandering track, which in the Dark Ages gained the name Watling Street. Today, this ancient road goes by many different names: the A2, the A5 and the M6 Toll. It is a palimpsest that is always being rewritten.Watling Street is a road of witches and ghosts, of queens and highwaymen, of history and myth, of Chaucer, Dickens and James Bond. Along this route Boudicca met her end, the Battle of Bosworth changed royal history, Bletchley Park code breakers cracked Nazi transmissions and Capability Brown remodelled the English landscape. The myriad people who use this road every day might think it unremarkable, but, as John Higgs shows, it hides its secrets in plain sight. Watling Street is not just the story of a route across our island, but an acutely observed, unexpected exploration of Britain and who we are today, told with wit and flair, and an unerring eye for the curious and surprising.
Ancestors: A History of Britain in Seven Burials
Alice Roberts - 2021
It's about reaching back in time, to find ourselves, and our place in the world.We often think of Britain springing from nowhere with the arrival of the Romans. But in Ancestors, pre-eminent archaeologist, broadcaster and academic Professor Alice Roberts explores what we can learn about the very earliest Britons - from their burial sites. Although we have very little evidence of what life was like in prehistorical times, here their stories are told through the bones and funerary offerings left behind, preserved in the ground for thousands of years.Told through seven fascinating burial sites, this groundbreaking prehistory of Britain teaches us more about ourselves and our history: how people came and went; how we came to be on this island.
Saxons vs. Vikings: Alfred the Great and England in the Dark Ages
Ed West - 2017
With the Norsemen murdering one king with arrows and torturing another to death by ripping out his lungs, the prospects that faced the kingdom of Wessex were bleak. Worse still, the Saxons were now led by a young man barely out of his teens who was more interested in God than fighting. Yet within a decade Alfred—the only English king known as the Great—had driven the Vikings out of half of England, and his children and grandchildren would unite the country a few years later. This period, popular with fans of television shows such as Vikings and The Last Kingdom, saw the creation of England as a nation-state, with Alfred laying down the first national law code, establishing an education system and building cities.Saxons vs. Vikings also covers the period before Alfred, including ancient Britain, the Roman occupation, and the Dark Ages, explaining important historical episodes such as Boudicca, King Arthur, and Beowulf.Perfect for newcomers to the subject, this is the second title in the new A Very, Very Short History of England series. If you’re trying to understand England and its history in the most informative and entertaining way possible, this is the place to start.
Barry Cunliffe - 2012
Today, ideas of our prehistoric origins are more likely based on ocean core samples, radio-carbon dating, and archeological artifacts. But as Barry Cunliffe reminds us in Britain Begins, an archaeologist writing of the past must be constantly aware that the past is, in truth, unknowable. Like the myth-making Celts, we too create stories about our origins, based on what we know today.Cunliffe here offers readers a vision of both worlds, looking at new myths and old, as he tells the fascinating story of the origins of the British and the Irish, from around 10,000 BC to the eve of the Norman Conquest. Using the most up-to-date archaeological evidence together with new work on DNA and other scientific techniques which help us to trace the origins and movements of these early settlers, Cunliffe offers a rich narrative account of the first islanders--who they were, where they came from, and how they interacted with one another. Underlying this narrative is the story of the sea, and Cunliffe paints a fascinating picture of early ships and sails and of the surprising sophistication of early navigation. The story told by the archaeological evidence is enhanced by historical texts, such as Julius Caesar's well-known if rather murky vision of Britain. Equally interesting, Cunliffe looks at the ideas of Britain's origins formed by our long-ago ancestors themselves, when they used what scraps there were, gleaned from Biblical and classical texts, to create a largely mythological origin for the British.
Saxons, Vikings, and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland
Bryan Sykes - 2006
Saxons, Vikings, and Celts, which resulted from a systematic ten-year DNA survey of more than 10,000 volunteers, traces the true genetic makeup of the British Isles and its descendants, taking readers from the Pontnewydd cave in North Wales to the resting place of "The Red Lady" of Paviland and the tomb of King Arthur. Genealogy has become a popular pastime of Americans interested in their heritage, and this is the perfect work for anyone interested in finding their heritage in England, Scotland, or Ireland.
The Strange Laws of Old England
Nigel Cawthorne - 2004
Did you know that the law requiring a London taxi driver to carry a bale of hay on top of his cab to feed the horse was in force until 1976? Or that Welshmen are not allowed in the city of Chester after dark? Nigel Cawthorne has unearthed an extraordinary (and sometimes hilarious) collection of the most bizarre and arcane laws that have been enacted over the centuries. Some of which, incredibly are still in force! It is still illegal to enter the Houses of Parliament in a suit of armour!
Shakespeare's Kings: The Great Plays and the History of England in the Middle Ages: 1337-1485
John Julius Norwich - 1999
It was a time of uncertainty and incessant warfare, a time during which the crown was constantly contested, alliances were made and broken, and peasants and townsmen alike arose in revolt. This was the raw material of Shakespeare's dramas, and Norwich holds up his work to the light of history to ask: Who was the real Falstaff? How accurate a historian was the playwright? Shakespeare's Kings is a marvelous study of the Bard's method of spinning history into art, and a captivating portrait of the Middle Ages.
George and Marina: Duke and Duchess of Kent
Christopher Warwick - 2016
As a young man, voraciously addicted to drugs and sex, with men as much as women, marriage and parenthood for the impetuously wayward playboy prince, with his night-clubbing lifestyle and intimate liaisons, was seen as the only stabilizing influence. Enter the stylish and sophisticated Princess Marina, the cultured, artistic and multilingual youngest daughter of Prince Nicholas of Greece and his Russian-born wife, Grand Duchess Yelena Vladimirovna. As Duke and Duchess of Kent, George and Marina were the Crown’s most glittering representatives, not least in the aftermath of the Abdication of George’s adored elder brother, the briefly-reigned King Edward VIII; the man with whom he had not only shared both home and high-flying lifestyles, but who had helped cure him of his addiction to morphine and cocaine.On and off duty, the Duke and Duchess lived life to the full, and after George’s untimely death, Marina continued to do so during the twenty-six years of her widowhood. Revisiting his 1988 best-selling biography, George and Marina: Duke and Duchess of Kent, Christopher Warwick, in this revised and partly re-written study, tells their story anew.
London by Tube: A History of Underground Station Names
David Revill - 2011
The book takes the reader on a fascinating journey around the Tube network to reveal the history behind the names of all 268 stations. Packed full of lively stories about the colourful characters and remarkable events connected to the places that bear these names, the book delves deep into London’s rich history to recall tales of terrible fires, profligate playboys, ancient relics, devious criminals, squalid slums, lost rivers, grisly executions and unsolved mysteries. This is a book for anyone who has ever taken a trip on the Tube – the perfect gift for visitors, commuters and Londoners alike. It is a Tube guide to the city’s past. So sit back and enjoy the ride and discover something new about London and its historic Underground.