- Series: The History of England (Book 1)
- Hardcover: 496 pages
- Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books; Reprint edition (October 16, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9781250003614
- ISBN-13: 978-1250003614
- ASIN: 125000361X
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.7 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 224 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #461,959 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors Hardcover – October 16, 2012
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*Starred Review* The first volume of Ackroyd’s prospective six-tome history of England extends from Stonehenge to the extinction of the Plantagenet dynasty by Henry Tudor. The strongest impression Ackroyd acquired from his survey of land and time is that of the role that habit, custom, and contingency plays in shaping history. He repeatedly repudiates a view of English history as a conscious progression toward, for example, Parliament. Similar institutions associated with England, such as Christianity and common law, arise as incremental accretions in Ackroyd’s accounts. His treatment of 1066 is characteristic. He concedes the consequentiality of the Norman conquest while emphasizing the persistence of native modes of life, such as the vernacular language that eventually, albeit not for three centuries, with Chaucer, supplanted the invaders’ French as the language of society and the governing elite. The battles for the crown supply most of Ackroyd’s narrative, but while the Hundred Years’ War and the Wars of the Roses rumble on, the peasants till the soil, quaff ale, and periodically raise pitchforks and torches. The hugely popular Ackroyd’s ease of erudition ought not to be missed. --Gilbert Taylor
“Ackroyd has drawn a large, loyal readership in his native land. Over some 50 books, he has seldom strayed far from the subject of the past and the traces it has left in the present. And the history that interests him most is the kind touching on national memory and a sense of place, ‘longing and belonging,' in his memorable phrase.” ―The New York Times Book Review
“Ackroyd's trademark insight and wit, and the glorious interconnectedness of all things, permeate each page.” ―Observer (UK)
“Ackroyd brings delightful but revealing details of the lives of the people from the past into the present.” ―Sunday Express (UK)
“With Foundation, Ackroyd makes a compelling case to be the country's next great chronicler.
” ―Time Out (London)
“Given his eye for detail and the near-mythic writing in books like Thames: Sacred River, [Foundation]―not surprisingly, a huge best seller in England―promises to be an original read.” ―Library Journal
“The hugely popular Ackroyd's ease of erudition ought not to be missed.” ―Booklist (starred review)
“Once again, Ackroyd exhibits his magic touch with the written word, this time with the first in a six-volume history of England.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“An extraordinary book...Peter Ackroyd is arguably the most talented and prolific writer working in Britain today.” ―Daily Express (UK)
“Ackroyd paints a portrait of early England that is both historically rich and compellingly human.” ―Shelf Awareness
“[Ackroyd] is a natural storyteller and a passionate historian, but his true skill lies in his acute eye for revealing interesting details.” ―San Francisco Book Review
“Marvelously erudite and staggeringly industrious.” ―Los Angeles Times
“For Ackroyd, the past isn't merely past; it's alive.” ―The Boston Globe on Peter Ackroyd
“Ackroyd is a medium through which the obscured voices of the past are channeled.” ―Newsday
“His best work is in his marvelous cultual visions...because they convey a comprehensive and frequently dark sense of the English character and its vagaries.” ―Harold Bloom, The New York Times Book Review
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Perhaps he does sometimes draw firm conclusions in places where scholars argue otherwise, or where the jury is still out. Frankly, I don't care. I'm not looking for rock-solid detail, backed by endless footnotes and cross-references. If I were, I'd turn elsewhere. Instead, I was interested in finding a coherent narrative that would help knit together the bits and pieces of English history of which I had already read. "Foundation" is that narrative.
I'm looking forward to his work on the Tudors.
This was the story of what was...not what I think should have been, but it was highly depressing to see how uncaring, unaware and irresponsible each and every king was in a "Christian kingdom". Still, I would recommend for all Anglophiles. Might make you want to reconsider your historic loyalties like it did me.
Ackroyd really brings people to life with interesting anecdotes that help to illustrate the continuity of life in England over thousands of years despite all the ups and downs of rulers and conquerors.
It helps with our present understanding of where our ideas of liberty and freedom came from and how deep seated they are within the English psyche.
It also shows why some present day illiberal tendencies of some imported groups should be resisted.
In these early centuries all the conquerors and invaders were assimilated and came to see that the ancestral English way of doing things really was one of the best ways.