Glory and B*llocks, By Colin Brown - paperback review

 

Colin Brown investigates 10 defining events in British history – such as the signing of Magna Carta, the Battle of Agincourt, Queen Elizabeth I’s pre-Armada speech to the troops at Tilbury, and the Falklands war – and explores the truth behind the myth. Magna Carta was not a charter for individual liberty, but a concession wrung from King John to protect the privileges of the barons. Our view of it owes much to the way it was used in the 17th century by Edward Coke to challenge Charles I’s claim to rule by Divine Right, and the fact that it was an inspiration for the American Declaration of Independence.

This is as much a travel book as history. Brown goes to significant sites: at Dover, he re-enacts Churchill looking over the English Channel in 1940; he stands in the Women’s Library in London’s east end and ponders the meaning of Emily Davison’s return ticket to Epsom. It’s in evoking such a strong sense of place that the book succeeds in conveying a sense of history.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in