Short History of England

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G. K. Chesterton 1917
  • Introduction
  • The Province of Britain
  • The Age of Legends
  • The Defeat of the Barbarians
  • St Edward & the Norman Kings
  • The Age of the Crusades
  • The Problem of the Plantagenets
  • The Meaning of Merry England
  • Nationality & the French Wars
  • The War of the Usurpers
  • The Rebellion of the Rich
  • Spain & the Schism of Nations
  • The Age of the Puritains
  • The Triumph of the Whigs
  • The War with the Great Republics
  • Aristocracy & the Discontents
  • The Return of the Barbarian
  • Conclusion
Gilbert Keith Chesterton was a prolific writer on many topics. His views of history were always from the standpoint of men and their interactions, and it may fairly be said he saw all of history as a battle between civilization and barbarism. So it has always been, and that remains true even today.

"But it is especially in the matter of the Middle Ages that the popular histories trample upon the popular traditions. In this respect there is an almost comic contrast between the general information provided about England in the last two or three centuries, in which its present industrial system was being built up, and the general information given about the preceding centuries, which we call broadly medieval."

As this quotation taken from the Introduction clearly shows, he is no mere pedant reciting dry dates and locations, but a profound thinker flooding new light onto those modern "myths" that have filled our histories. He is a master of paradox, and the technique of reducing his opponents' arguments to the logical absurdity they have inherent in them. He often turns them upside down. All of which makes his work both a sound subject for reflection and highly entertaining all the while it remains permanently timely.
(Summary by Ray Clare)

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