By Simon Schama
'Great Britain? What was once that?' asks Simon Schama at first of this, the second one booklet of his epic three-volume trip into Britain's previous. This quantity, "The British Wars", is a compelling chronicle of the adjustments that remodeled each strand and stratum of British existence, religion and notion from 1603 to 1776. vacationing up and down the rustic and throughout 3 continents, Schama explores the forces that tore Britain aside in the course of centuries of dynamic switch - remodeling outlooks, allegiances and limits. From the start of the British wars in July 1637, for 2 hundred years battles raged on - either at domestic and in a foreign country, on sea and on land, up and down the size of burgeoning Britain, throughout Europe, the US and India. so much will be wars of religion - waged on wide-ranging grounds of political or non secular conviction. yet as wars of spiritual passions gave option to campaigns for revenue, the British humans did come jointly within the imperial company of 'Britannia Incorporated'. the tale of that fab alteration is a narrative of revolution and response, suggestion and disenchantment, of growth and disaster, and Schama's evocative narrative brings it vividly to lifestyles.
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Extra info for A History of Britain: British Wars 1603-1776 v. 2: The British Wars 1603-1776
About the Author Simon Schama is University Professor of Art History and History at Columbia University and the prize-winning author of fourteen books, which have been translated into twenty languages. They include The Embarrassment of Riches: An Interpretation of Dutch Culture in the Golden Age; Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution; Landscape and Memory; Rembrandt’s Eyes; Rough Crossings, which won the National Book Critics Circle Award; and most recently, The American Future: A History.
A year later, though, with the pestilence finally in retreat, Dekker and Jonson got to stage their pageant after all. If anything, the postponement had only whetted London’s appetite for the kind of festivity not seen since the accession of Elizabeth a half century earlier. Dekker was probably not entirely self-serving when he reported ‘the streets seemed to be paved with men . . stalles instead of rich wares were set out with children, open casements [the leaded glass windows having been taken out] filled up with women’.
Certainly James himself believed that he was reuniting two realms that had been snapped apart, bringing about dreadful and unrelenting bloodshed. He was reminded by the court preacher John Hopkins of Ezekiel 37, in which the prophet had had a vision of two dry sticks, which he was commanded to put together; and when he did so, lo, they became one and a living thing too, a dream-parable of the reunion of the sundered Israel and Judah. John Gordon, a Scottish minister who had travelled down with James and who fancied himself a cabbalist, unlocked the esoteric significance of the Hebrew etymology of Britannia, in which Brit-an-Yah – translation: ‘a covenant (Brit) was there’ – encoded God’s command to reconstitute Britain from its fractured halves.