I have just finished reading Keith Feilding's 'A History of England.' I am quite pleased as I began reading the book in 1974. In those days, long before any of my female readers were born, it was the thing to obtain books via a postal book club. These usually offered an introductory offer of a couple of good books free or for a small sum if you took a book a month for six months or more. At the time these were good ideas and I obtained many good books that I would never afford this way. Where are they now I ask? The problem of such clubs I found was the lack of choice. On offer were good deals on rubbish books, some insisting you took the main volume, others did not, but the main offer I found was often a girly book or junk in my view, and the rest much the same. It became difficult to find a book worth having each month the choice being so limited. The end for such clubs arrived with Amazon of course.
One book on offer I did take was Keith Feildings history. Naturally I began to read at once but life was difficult for me in the 70's, the worst decade of the 20th century, and coupled with working long hours I did not get far. Eventually I managed to bring it down to my wonderful box in London's fashionable slum area (one bedroom flats now costing £4-900,000) and began to read. However I did not get far, beginning 'Before the Romans' as any book should I read on well into the Saxon era and even into Medieval times before putting the book down and forgetting all about it. One day a while back I picked it up and began again from the beginning.
At last I reached the time just before the second world war. Neville Chamberlain is in power, Adolf is grunting overseas and the Empire is demanding independence. I might never know what happens next as he stops there! Our man Keith was a decent enough conservative historian, and this book covers a huge area of time yet he gives a comprehensive coverage of events. Clearly there is a limit as to how deep he can go but I found it very interesting, especially as it is foreign history of which I was almost totally ignorant before. Some points have arisen in the past, usually English aggressive imperialism, but so much was new to me.
The book was written after the war, possibly during, and it was first published in 1950. This means that some attitudes appear quaint to some, although his attitude actually quite good regarding most things I think, and it gives us a view from the past of the past. Naturally he as an English historian includes Scotland, typical! I'm glad I read it, I am also aware just how much of it I forget, although things come to mind when a subject rears its head and hopefully I will not be required to read this again! I might however, or possibly another persons viewpoint, you know how historians disagree don't you.