Great Tales from English History: Cheddar Man to the Peasants' Revolt.
Great Tales from English History: Cheddar Man to the Peasants'
Revolt. Robert Lacey. Little, Brown. [pounds sterling]14.99. 254 pages.
ISBN 0-316-72674-5. The author has built this book on the success of his
earlier study, The Year 1000. Here he again concentrates on the social
aspects of English mediaeval history. His aim is 'to create a
coherent, chronological picture of our island story, while following the
guiding principle that all men and women have heroism inside them--along
with generous and fascinating measures of incompetence, apathy, evil and
lust'. The mediaeval period is, he argues, still relevant for it
gave us 'the principles of our freedoms, law and Parliamentary
system, not to mention the buildings, towns and countryside that help
define our sense of who we are'. Each entry is short and
concentrates on a single individual, from Boadicea, Bede and King Alfred
to Becket, Edward II and the Fair Maid of Kent. The text is not
uncritical and myths are exploded when required. If it is not great
history it is a thoroughly enjoyable read. (G.R.F.)