The first book in Peter Ackroyd's history of England series, which has since been followed up with two more installments, Tudors and Rebellion.
In Foundation, the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England's prehistory to the death, in 1509, of the first Tudor king, Henry VII. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country's most distant past--a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house--and describes in rich prose the successive waves of invaders who made England English, despite being themselves Roman, Viking, Saxon, or Norman French.
With his extraordinary skill for evoking time and place and his acute eye for the telling detail, Ackroyd recounts the story of warring kings, of civil strife, and foreign wars. But he also gives us a vivid sense of how England's early people lived: the homes they built, the clothes the wore, the food they ate, even the jokes they told. All are brought vividly to life in this history of England through the narrative mastery of one of Britain's finest writers.
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The book is most engaging when not attending to matters of state.Read Full Review of Foundation: The History of En... | See more reviews from NY Times
Ackroyd's England comes to resemble a continuous accident, which is not a bad description of any nation.Read Full Review of Foundation: The History of En... | See more reviews from Guardian
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