In Search of England: Journeys into the English Past

In Search of England: Journeys into the English Past

Michael Wood / Aug 18, 2019

In Search of England Journeys into the English Past England is the birthplace of many immortal legends told around the world King Arthur and Camelot the Holy Grail Robin Hood the mysterious Isle of Avalon But are these famous stories based on histor

  • Title: In Search of England: Journeys into the English Past
  • Author: Michael Wood
  • ISBN: 9780520232181
  • Page: 382
  • Format: Paperback
  • England is the birthplace of many immortal legends told around the world King Arthur and Camelot, the Holy Grail, Robin Hood, the mysterious Isle of Avalon But are these famous stories based on historical events and actual people And what do they tell us about the character and origins of the Anglo Saxon world, a culture that helped shape American identity In his absorbEngland is the birthplace of many immortal legends told around the world King Arthur and Camelot, the Holy Grail, Robin Hood, the mysterious Isle of Avalon But are these famous stories based on historical events and actual people And what do they tell us about the character and origins of the Anglo Saxon world, a culture that helped shape American identity In his absorbing new book, Michael Wood examines the roots of English history Peeling back the layers of literary and oral material that have accumulated over the ages, he offers a fascinating series of rich stories part history, part myth that, directly or indirectly, touch on questions of English history and identity He looks back at the legends surrounding Alfred the Great, King Athelstan, the lost library of Glastonbury, and .Wood s emphasis is the Early Middle Ages, and the first two sections of the book offer deep excursions into particular moments in the history of that era In addition to recounting some well known legends, Wood considers the manuscripts and other primary sources of historical information on which they are based, assessing the validity of existing documentation, fleshing out historical contexts, and considering the treatment throughout history of these stories by famous writers, poets, and moviemakers.In the third part of In Search of England, Wood writes about places that illuminate interesting aspects of early England Tinsley Wood, near Sheffield, which has been claimed as the site of Athelstan s great victory against the Celts in 937 a farmhouse in Devon which has been occupied since Domesday and possibly long before and the village of Peatling Magna in Leicestershire, scene of an extraordinary confrontation with King Henry III in 1265 These are the places and events that offer a complementary version of the history that is discussed earlier in the book.In Search of England is published at a significant moment With the European union, and with assertions of independence within the United Kingdom, questions about English national identity have become increasingly topical both there and abroad Wood offers a potent and revealing account of the origins of a culture that has had a significant impact worldwide His narrative is a rich unfolding of history and legend reaching to the present day, and a delightfully readable meditation on the roots of the Anglo Saxon world.

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    About "Michael Wood"

      • Michael Wood

        Librarian Note There s than one author in the GoodReads database with this name See this thread for information Michael David Wood is an English historian broadcaster He s presented numerous tv documentary series Library of Congress lists him as Michael Wood.Wood was born in Moston, Manchester, educated at Manchester Grammar School Oriel College, Oxford His special interest was Anglo Saxon history In the 70s Wood worked for the BBC in Manchester He was 1st a reporter, then an assistant producer on current affairs programmes, before returning to his love of history with his 1981 series In Search of the Dark Ages for BBC2 This explored the lives of leaders of the period, including Boadicea, King Arthur, Offa, Alfred the Great, Athelstan, Eric Bloodaxe William the Conquerer gave rise to his 1st book, based upon the series.


    474 Comments

    1. That fount of wisdom, , tells me Wood has been dubbed "the thinking woman's crumpet" (note to self: new nickname for husband), and accordingly he's written a very engaging popular history of English identity. This is one of several In Search of books Wood has penned, so it's obviously working for him. The chapters are a glorious mix of the epic and infinitesimal, exploring national and regional mythology alongside the devastating impact of Henry VIII's dissolution of the monasteries on antique a [...]


    2. I did indeed take “In Search of England” to England and it has proven to be a fun read. A couple of times there was a convergence of sorts between the book and places I’ve visited or did visit in England and Wales. I like the personal recollections of Wood's in the book. So far I think my favorite part has been on Asser’s “Life of Alfred”. And of course, thanks to my history class, I understand (and actually anticipated) Wood's comparisons with Einhard’s “Life of Charlemagne”! [...]


    3. Excellent-informative, engaging, fascinating information linking our present day with our past.I loved it!


    4. Originally published on my blog here in April 2001.Like every nation, England has its collection of historical mythology, which is of varying truthfulness. This collection of essays is mostly about this subject, the famous and the less famous - Arthur and Robin Hood, on the one hand, to the survival of ancient crafts ("the last bowl-turner of England"), to turning points in English history. Though England is the unifying theme, the collection of essays is not sufficiently focused to make them re [...]


    5. Lovely, lovely book! Michael Wood has a passion for humanity, for history, and for language. His research is breathtaking, and his breadth of knowledge is astonishing. I was completely captivated by his unpeeling the layers of history in village after village. I found this Penguin edition in a bookstall on market day in Wells, Somerset. After a day trip to Glastonbury, I settled in to continue reading a perfect companion to the day--Chapter 3: "Glastonbury, the Grail, and the Isle of Avalon." Se [...]


    6. Michael Wood writes in a lively and interesting way about parts of history not often made easily accessible - i.e. the period before and just after the Norman Conquest. By starting from places in modern England, he peals back time over a thousand years or more to reveal what still remains of a period of our history of which most of us are unaware. This book is a fascinating collection of stories, each taking a different place or incident as its starting point to reflect on what made the roots of [...]


    7. A wonderful exploration into the history of England, social, religious, culture and how, as anywhere else in the world the present is always shaped by the past.It reminds me of one of my favourite quotations of which I have never been able to identify the author"THE FUTURE IS ONLY THE PAST GOING PAST THE PRESENT ON ITS WAY TO BECOME THE FUTURE"


    8. Erudite, scholarly and extremely readable. If you want to know where England came from and the history of what has shaped the way we are now, you can do no worse than to add this book to your reading list. Engrossing.


    9. Particularly fascinated by the chapter on the destiny of Glastonbury Abbey's books after the Dissolution. But it's all a wonderful read, full of originality and insight.



    10. A wonderful book full of English life, legends, and history, with the majority focused on early medieval England, my favorite.


    11. Anything Michael Wood has written is fabulous, extraordinary, etc. Love this man's work & which my library had some ebooks of his or audio.


    12. A book of the TV series but none the worse for that. No great insights into the past but a useful compendium of the times.


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