Author(s): Simon Schama
Change, sometimes gentle and subtle, more often shocking and violent-shattering ideals and shifting perspectives-is again the dynamic of this, the second volume of Schama's refreshing and compelling history of Britain.
'The British wars began on the morning of July 23 1637, and the first missiles launched were stools. They flew down the nave of St. Giles' Cathedral in Edinburgh and their targets were the Dean and Bishop of Edinburgh...' The first round of the British wars had been fired, and fired on grounds of faith. over the next 200 years, other battles on other battlegrounds would be waged and would rage-both at home and abroad, on sea and on land, up and down the length of burgeoning Britain, and across three continents-Europe,America and India. Most of the British wars would be wars of faith - waged on wide-ranging grounds of political or religious conviction-between Republicans and Royalists, Catholics and Protestants, Tories and Whigs, colonialists and natives.
Many of the British battles would be fought on battlefields far from Britain, as far afield as Quebec and Calcutta. Yet the wars of the British remain essentially British wars-fought by the British, for the British and between the British. But who exactly were the British and what were they fighting for ? The answers unravel as the the story of 'The Wars of the British' unfolds. It is a story of revolution and reaction, of inspiration and disillusion, of progress and catastrophe, of huge gains and massive losses, of battles fought against the odds, as when Robert Clive stood at Plassey, of James Wolfe fell at Quebec.
At the heart of Schama's history lie questions of compelling importance for Britain's future as well as it's past.What makes or breaks a nation?To whom do we give our allegiance and why? And where do the boundaries of our community lie?All these questions unravel through the stories that Schama loves to tell, in a form at once traditional and excitingly fresh. The great and the unforgettable are here-Oliver Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie, Christopher Wren and Guy Fawkes, but so, too, are countless more ordinary lives such as Olaudah Equiano, an African enslaved from boyhood.All are caught on Schama's rich and teeming tapestry of British life and history.