There is a definite thrill to reading the actual words set down by the infamously unassuming monk himself. This is why there are so many fields where "Bede" is mandatory foundational literature, but if you are a student of English history, literature, theology, philosophy, or sociology you already know that. One of the most lasting of the many images the book creates is the biography of Bede himself; surviving a plague that left only the abbot and the young boy Bede to sing the Divine Offices, then settling in at Jarrow where he was sheltered with the precious books for the remainder of his life.
Dated as 731, Bede's history was written in his old age (when he was 60 or so) and his gentle manner of reflection on the relationship of kings, gentry, the Church, it's priests and leaders, and common folk with one another informs one quite clearly of the many years spent teaching other monks, repeatedly re-reading texts, and living the religious life that bestowed the title "Venerable Bede" upon him. A professional academic in every modern sense of the word, knowledgeable, inquiring, conscious of his place in history, inventor of the chronological annotation (A.D.), meticulous researcher of events, places, and times; from any perspective you choose, this book demands to be part of your life experience.
This edition (which is probably the best-known - it's Sherley-Price's 1955 translation) includes both Bede's Letter to Egbert and the great eyewitness account of Bede's death by Cuthbert, upon which a significant part of Bede's reputation rests. There is no way to read Cuthbert's letter without understanding the ideal of humility for a medieval monk.....the image of him giving away his earthly treasures of pepper, handkerchiefs and incense in the hours before he dies....it's an image that stays with you forever.
All in all, the work is one of the treasures of our species....