Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A New History of England - William Blennerhassett

Just finished reading Volume I of ‘A New History of England’ by William Blennerhassett, published 1751. I read this partly out of curiosity and partly with the hope of filling in some of the gaping holes in my knowledge of English history.

I must say, I really enjoyed reading it. It’s written in a really quick-paced and concise way and gives an overview of English history from the earliest times up until the reign of Edward VI. The history it presents comes from earlier documents and manuscripts about English history, so a lot of its information is no doubt spurious, particularly the parts about England’s early history. However, this isn’t the writers fault and overall the work is written in an honest and well-intentioned manner. In fact, Blennerhassett was clearly someone who understood English history and the moral dimensions to it. A consequence of this is that it’s written with a knowing admission that the important figures in our history weren’t necessarily good people.

Sadly Volume I, which I downloaded from Google Books, ends mid-sentence during the chapter about Edward VI. However after 900 odd pages this was maybe something of a blessing. I'm sure the rest of this work can be found somewhere online, but my brief searching hasn't turned it up as yet. Hopefully I'll get my hands on it at some point as it's been a really enjoyable work to read. I just hope he doesn’t deal with Cromwell too harshly in the next installment.

No comments:

Post a Comment