Get Your Free Audiobook

The English and Their History

Narrated by: Stephen Thorne
Length: 45 hrs and 32 mins
Categories: History, British
4.5 out of 5 stars (37 ratings)

Non-member price: $46.83

After 30 days, Audible is $16.45/mo. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

In The English and Their History, the first full-length account to appear in one volume for many decades, Robert Tombs gives us the history of the English people and of how the stories they have told about themselves have shaped them, from the prehistoric 'dreamtime' through to the present day.

If a nation is a group of people with a sense of kinship, a political identity and representative institutions, then the English have a claim to be the oldest nation in the world. They first came into existence as an idea, before they had a common ruler and before the country they lived in even had a name. They have lasted as a recognisable entity ever since, and their defining national institutions can be traced back to the earliest years of their history. The English have come a long way from those precarious days of invasion and conquest, with many spectacular changes of fortune.

Their political, economic and cultural contacts have left traces for good and ill across the world. This book describes their history and its meanings from their beginnings in the monasteries of Northumbria and the wetlands of Wessex to the cosmopolitan energy of today's England.

Robert Tombs draws out important threads running through the story, including participatory government, language, law, religion, the land and the sea, and the ever-changing relations with other peoples. Not the least of these connections are the ways the English have understood their own history, have argued about it, forgotten it, and yet been shaped by it. These diverse and sometimes conflicting understandings are an inherent part of their identity.

Rather to their surprise, as ties within the United Kingdom loosen, the English are suddenly beginning a new period in their long history. Especially at times of change, history can help us to think about the sort of people we are and wish to be.

This audiobook, the first single-volume work on this scale for more than half a century, and which incorporates a wealth of recent scholarship, presents a challenging modern account of this immense and continuing story, bringing out the strength and resilience of English government, the deep patterns of division, yet also the persistent capacity to come together in the face of danger.

©2015 Robert Tombs (P)2016 Audible, Ltd

Critic Reviews

"A work of supreme intelligence.... No history published this year has been of such resounding importance to contemporary debates. Tombs, who is both fearless and non-partisan, deserves to be rewarded with a life peerage for this book." (Richard Davenport-Hines, Observer)
"Learned, pithy and punchy, with a laudable sense of narrative sweep and a bracing willingness to offer bold judgments, [Tombs's] survey is a tremendous achievement, and deserves to become the standard history for years to come." (Dominic Sandbrook, Sunday Times)
"Packed with telling detail and told with gentle, sardonic wit...[a] vast and delightful book." (Ben Macintyre, The Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    31
  • 4 Stars
    2
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    30
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    28
  • 4 Stars
    3
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Not being a British History buff!

After Tombs recent Australian visit, I was impressed by his enlightening interview.
Listening since, I have been amazed by clarity and continuity of how my heritage evolved.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Utterly engaging story - perfectly read

A brilliant 'summary' of English history - even
though it goes over 42 hours.

The amount of time / pages covering each
period gradually increases, so that roughly:

Pre 1914 = 60%
Post 1914 = 40%

Game of Thrones was based on the history
of England and the War of the Roses.
For me, this book is just as exciting -
particularly after the medieval period,
which continues where GoT left off.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Almost too thorough

Great value. Took me a few months to chew through this monster. Favourite part was the historical review of the the period through which I have lived.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Amazon Customer
  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-06-2017

Superb, educational, captivating.

Brilliantly written and narrated. Highly recommend this book. if you know nothing about the english then read this and you will know all about the english

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
Profile Image for Al Dante
  • Al Dante
  • 07-06-2017

Excellent, with surprising details, super narrator

Mr Tombs has done a fine job of compressing the complex story of the English into a one-volume book. The great sweep may be known to many, but he teases out the social factors that make history come alive, and delivers the death blow to many misconceptions along the way. Thoroughly recommended.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful