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Foundation: The History of England from Its Earliest Beginnings to the Tudors

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Clive Chafer

18 Hours 25 Minutes

Blackstone Audiobooks

January 2015


Audio Book Summary

In this massive bestseller in England, one of Britain’s most popular and esteemed historians tells the epic story of the birth of the country.

Peter Ackroyd, whose work has always been underpinned by a profound interest in and understanding of England's history, now tells the epic story of England itself.

In Foundation,the chronicler of London and of its river, the Thames, takes us from the primeval forests of England’s prehistory to the death of the first Tudor king, Henry VII, in 1509. He guides us from the building of Stonehenge to the founding of the two great glories of medieval England: common law and the cathedrals. He shows us glimpses of the country’s most distant past—a Neolithic stirrup found in a grave, a Roman fort, a Saxon tomb, a medieval manor house—and describes in rich prose the successive waves of invaders who made England English, despite being themselves Roman, Viking, Saxon, or Norman French.

With his extraordinary skill for evoking time and place and his acute eye for the telling detail, Ackroyd recounts the story of warring kings, civil strife, and foreign wars. But he also gives us a vivid sense of how England’s early people lived: the homes they built, the clothes they wore, the food they ate, even the jokes they told. All are brought vividly to life through the narrative mastery of one of Britain’s finest writers.

“[In] Foundation, his rambling, affectionate new history of the remote English past…the history that interests him most is the kind touching on national memory and a sense of place, ‘about longing and belonging,’ in his memorable phrase…In a narrative that is relaxed, unpretentious, and accessible, if at times somewhat hasty, he skillfully digests the work of others without cutting very deep with his own analysis. The early chapters, on the times before William the Conqueror, play especially to his strengths, as he draws on the findings of modern archaeologists who have advanced our understanding of how ancient Britons lived and how the various migrations and invasions changed the nation.”—New York Times Book Review

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  • nab6215

    I wanted to read Peter Ackroyd's "Foundation" on the history of England because I am getting ready to read Nancy Goldstone's "Four Queens" and a series of Philippa Gregory books. I loved the way Peter Ackroyd seamlessly moved between the kings of England, the traditions of the people, and popular misconceptions. The book had a good pace and it kept me wanting more. I am going to see what else he has written.

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  • Duskie Milberg

    An informative read. Definitely one I'll re-read and re-read. The reader doesn't have animation in his voice; I'm not sure how he's supposed to read history but there were too many times I got easily distracted when listening to this very informative read.

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