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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.)
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Publication:Contemporary Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Feb 1, 2004
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