An absorbing read . . . one of the joys of Selwood's writing is his cogent analysis . . . the exhaustive bibliography of sources attests to the depth of Selwood's research . . . an innovative history eruditely told
An extraordinary new book . . . a wonderful gallop through the history of the nation . . . I enjoyed it enormously and I salute you, Dominic
An original, engaging and deeply researched journey through British history in the words of those who made it
A superb holiday pick . . . sparky, original, dip-in-able and full of fresh insights . . . a superb array of documents . . . cleverly chosen . . . combines barrister precision with historian instincts . . . a worthwhile endeavour, each and every word . . . your view of British identity and maybe your own will be different by the end.
Dominic Selwood slices into complex histories with hugely significant documents as his scalpel. We are deftly led through the context that helps make sense of events and can see the carefully selected documents as the vital organs in the body of history dissected before us. Anatomy of a Nation is a delightfully readable account of how history is written and how the written word defines history
Stimulating ... ambitious ... wide and varied ... clear and lively ... sections on Northern Ireland and the Falklands War are judicious, balanced and well-argued
Extraordinary. Brilliantly researched and entertainingly told - history at its best
Erudite, surprising, and hugely entertaining, using texts, both familiar and less well known, Dominic Selwood provides us with a new way of viewing British history. A delight to read and full of new insights, in short readable chapters, this is something you will want to return to again and again
Dominic Selwood has found an enthralling way to recount the story of Britain: from Anglo-Saxon poems to the Sex Pistols, the Bayeux Tapestry to the last prophecies of Spitting Image, there is not a dull or dry moment in this book, but a wonderful, erudite, wide-ranging, and insightful account of the eclectic roots and development of British history and identity
A glorious romp through the history of Britain, from the flooding of Doggerland to the Shipping Forecast, via Romans, Arthurian legend, witches and a bomb plot. A stunning achievement
One of the great fallacies of our time is the idea that our identities, including our national and ethnic identities, are somehow innate and unchanging. Dominic Selwood deftly wields sharp tools to smash that idea to smithereens. Anatomy of a Nation uses historical documents, sparkling wit and sharp insight to help us understand where and how the British - the English in particular - learned to be British. With a deft handling of historical fact, the author shows us how the builders of Stonehenge, the friars who kept their library across the road from Newgate prison, the British first president of Israel and the readers of the Shipping Forecast created the globally oriented identity that is Britishness at its best. Reading this book helps us (British or not) understand who we are by teaching us the interaction between history, culture and identity; and doing it in a way that's joyous, decorous, educated and fun. This is my kind of history
Britain may be a country that has "lost its way" but history shows that solutions can be found ... The 50 documents are described in an accessible way that provokes an interest for scholars and casual history fans alike
Selwood chronicles Britain's past through a diverse - and sometimes unexpected - selection of historical documents
The range and rich diversity of material are the chief strength of this book . . . a readable and enjoyable narrative history
With a great deal of erudition and humour, Selwood manages to distil thousands of years of British history in a fiendishly clever way. A must for anybody trying to understand this most enigmatic of nations, be they a new arrival or someone who has lived in Britain before even the late Queen was on the throne
[A] very current, thought-provoking reflection on what British history means today
Unique, informative, and compelling ... unreservedly recommended
A comprehensive survey of British history drawing on a vivid range of original texts
Many [chapters] reference British military actions at home and abroad . . . delve[s] into the context, importance and subsequent events that have come to define each conflict . . . shows the importance of the research Dominic Selwood has conducted.
An incredible insight into the private lives of people
an enthralling account of how the British mindset has evolved ... a vivid picture of the many profound influences that have shaped Britain and its collective psyche... complicated ideas are described and explained with great clarity ... I struggled to put the book down.