[Reading] ➸ Wyspy. Historia ➮ Norman Davies – Thomashillier.co.uk



10 thoughts on “Wyspy. Historia

  1. says:

    I love a history book any book, really that makes you look at the world differently when you re finished with it I love a book eventhat stays with you long after you have put it back on the shelf and, like a favourite friend, you can t resist popping back to, to look up something, anything, just to pick the book up again.I consider myself fairly well versed in the history or, as Mr Davies would say the histories of my islands, but that was before reading The Isles It is a work of I love a history book any book, really that makes you look at the world differently when you re finished with it I love a book eventhat stays with you long after you have put it back on the shelf and, like a favourite friend, you can t resist popping back to, to look up something, anything, just to pick the book up again.I consider myself fairly well versed in the history or, as Mr Davies would say the histories of my islands, but that was before reading The Isles It is a work of great sensitivity, at times iconoclastic, sometimes witty, often incisive, invariably trenchant Considering the centrifugal forces currently at work in the United Kingdom, reading this book with its lessons culled from over two thousand years of history helps to put things in some perspective, starting with the concept of identity Considering as well the vast span of time it covers, it retains its pace, its rhythm, and its relevance to today s events There is also a fine set of maps and other appendices, like timelines, chronologies, genealogies, photos, even sheet music So much of this book is about identity what it is, where it comes from, who makes it, what happens to it over time In a way it is interesting this is such a treasured book to me, as it does merrily explode conceptions of what it means to be British, while exposing the debris of that identity to another that of being European To be European is another identity or layer of identity that I respect and cherish Having lived and worked in countries that could not resist their own centrifugal forces and that span themselves to their own often messy destruction, my instinct is to resist any moves to deconstruct my own country Having lived and worked on Europe s borders, I see it first from the outside in, and thus I see it as something of a haven, something to be aspired to Again, not something these days that many of my co citizens of this European project would easily relate to.The Isles is something of a balm to that feeling of being adrift, or at least it helps to put it in perspective Far from being set in stone, the islands that make up the United Kingdom have always been a site and source of innovation and inspiration to those who live there, and I hope they always will be


  2. says:

    This is not so much a history of the British Isles, strictly speaking, as it is an extensive historical reflection on national identity It examines changing concepts of England, Britain, Great Britain, the British Empire, the British Commonwealth, and the United Kingdom Davies has two primary concerns First, he challenges any and all assumptions that such titles for the island nation at any given point in its history are interchangeable or appropriately used at any given stage of This is not so much a history of the British Isles, strictly speaking, as it is an extensive historical reflection on national identity It examines changing concepts of England, Britain, Great Britain, the British Empire, the British Commonwealth, and the United Kingdom Davies has two primary concerns First, he challenges any and all assumptions that such titles for the island nation at any given point in its history are interchangeable or appropriately used at any given stage of its history The particular focus of his challenge opposes assumptions of England s London s superiority His second concern regards what it means to be British He works hard to devote as much attention to Scotland, Ireland, and Wales as most past histories according to Davies generally emphasize England He follows the story of national identity from pre historic through contemporary times published March 2000 An updated version would already be welcome in light of 9 11, 7 7, the second Iraq war, the 2008 financial collapse, and continuing developments regarding the European Union.As any good modern historian, Davies strives for objectivity but as he moves into the twentieth century, his political opinions begin coming through on issues like the place of the British monarchy, different twists on WWI and WWII, and most clearly GB s dependence on the USA.Specific and complete historical narratives are lacking, as the point is not a strict historical account but historiographical thought on national identity Even so, it s good to have such an expansive story with such a broad view


  3. says:

    I don t like Norman Davies, but I have to give this book at least 4 stars Davies is another revisionist historian, but unlike most, he gives good justification for most of his revisions, and is a first rate historian when it comes to historiographical criticism I think all history students should read the part of this book where Davies savages the previous historical writing about the United Kingdom He obviously writes from a Celtic catholic viewpoint, and one has to be careful when one read I don t like Norman Davies, but I have to give this book at least 4 stars Davies is another revisionist historian, but unlike most, he gives good justification for most of his revisions, and is a first rate historian when it comes to historiographical criticism I think all history students should read the part of this book where Davies savages the previous historical writing about the United Kingdom He obviously writes from a Celtic catholic viewpoint, and one has to be careful when one reads him for this reason alone But his criticism of previous histories of Britain and associated islands one should NEVER call Ireland a British isle there s nothing British about it and questioning of long assumed positions is the stuff of which first class historiography is made, and well received by me, whatever else Davies faults are If you want to understand how British history has been written, you need to read these sections The book is huge this is never a fault with a good book The fault lies with some of text which is superflous and only provides gristle to get in the way of the meat Fictional accounts of isolated instances of British history should never have appeared in such a book Davies revisionist sallies against the walls of British historiography are worth wading through this nonesense though He also writes as if he were supporting trends that he assumes will happen in the future, which comesto partisan politics than to sound history This is not the book to read to come away from, saying one has completely learned British history from it Davies is often too busy grinding his own axes to give time to the events and themes which need to be discussed An example is his treatment of the Cornish language revival movement, which might be of interest to all 500 participants, but comes at the sacrifice of lots of European historical context which would have interfered with Davies lashing of his pet peeves protestants, Germanics, and royalty But The Isles A History is to be learned from, and it is a worthy read for many reasons


  4. says:

    A history of the British Isles and it s peoples, from a non anglo centric perspective Many British people, let alone foreigners, don t understand the difference between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and England, believing them to be interchangeable at best No wonder then that this tome begins with an attempt to unravel this knot of confusion and set things , from the off, on asecure footing.From there we are taken on a systematic history of the Isles as an integral inseparable whol A history of the British Isles and it s peoples, from a non anglo centric perspective Many British people, let alone foreigners, don t understand the difference between Great Britain, the United Kingdom and England, believing them to be interchangeable at best No wonder then that this tome begins with an attempt to unravel this knot of confusion and set things , from the off, on asecure footing.From there we are taken on a systematic history of the Isles as an integral inseparable whole, with equal emphasis on the various native Gaelic cultures as on the customary English narrative this consists of an almost comprehensive discussion of the various strata left by each successive conquest as an incoming cultural influence.The tone of this book is really a search for identity A subversive attempt to explode the myths of English or British identity and dispel the official versions of British history as politically motivated constructs invented after the events The breaking of the myth is that these Islands have always been a meeting point for diverse, often conflicting cultures, be it through trade, Empiricism, proselytism and or conquest from native Pict and Celtic tribes through Roman, Scandinavian, Saxon, Friesian and Norman we are the product of diverse interaction rather than any single cultural dominance, and the rise of the English but really British to the status of C19th World super power, influenced, but neither hindered nor negated the importance of Welsh, Irish and Scottish history Britain is, by nature, a multi cultural concept shaped as much by successive invading historical cultures as by it s own conquests This is the best attempt that I know of at a comprehensive history of our islands that honors and acknowledges all that have lived and contributed here As with all of Mr Davies books it is spoiled somewhat by the over labouring of certain points and the sound of grinding axes in the background but that is a minor quibble There is much a louder passion for prosaic subversive story telling and love of the subject that makes this a modern gem


  5. says:

    I m sorry to say I found this a big disappointment It starts off well enough the early chapters on the prehistory of the British Isles are very good, brilliant almostbut it soon goes off, and gets so progressively bad that in the end I couldn t finish it The problem is that Professor Davies hates the English, and it really isn t possible to write a decent history of the British Isles if at every point you relish a racist put down I have read many of Davies s books and, until now, loved t I m sorry to say I found this a big disappointment It starts off well enough the early chapters on the prehistory of the British Isles are very good, brilliant almostbut it soon goes off, and gets so progressively bad that in the end I couldn t finish it The problem is that Professor Davies hates the English, and it really isn t possible to write a decent history of the British Isles if at every point you relish a racist put down I have read many of Davies s books and, until now, loved them all My disillusionment on finding that someone I have loved and admired actually hates me and all my tribe is therefore hugely upsetting Until the English actually arrive the hatred is concealed, but the moment Hengist and Horsa swing on the scene we are treated to the poisonous invective of a seasoned Anglophobe It didn t have to be like this Jean Sans Terre as none of his subjects called King John was noa Frenchman than I am the Normans, or Northmen, were not of course ethnically French at all , yet Professor Davies rubs his Frenchified moniker in our English faces at every opportunity And of course, he hates the Church of England as an expression of English nationalism, of course he would Davies loves all supranational non English institutions, whether they are the Church of Rome or the European Union, as the flip side to his hatred of everything Anglo Saxon I haven t been so disappointed since watching Edward I s Irish levies switch sides to the Jockinese in one of the battle scenes in the film Braveheart Ah Professor Davies, I would follow you anywhere in your historical exploration of all things Polish or eastern European, but in this book alas the cloven hoof peeps from under your Welsh hose, and you show yourself to be just another chippy Celt


  6. says:

    I got this book cheaply 10 US dollars at a Half Price bookstore list price was 19.99 pounds which is about 30 US dollars without any idea of how good it was I had no significant knowledge of the history of Britian or the Isles but hoped to learn As I have read this book I have learned a significant amount but unfortunately for me this is a history book to correct what one has wrongly already learned ie that which I had not learned I am sure I missed a lot of what he was saying So it is n I got this book cheaply 10 US dollars at a Half Price bookstore list price was 19.99 pounds which is about 30 US dollars without any idea of how good it was I had no significant knowledge of the history of Britian or the Isles but hoped to learn As I have read this book I have learned a significant amount but unfortunately for me this is a history book to correct what one has wrongly already learned ie that which I had not learned I am sure I missed a lot of what he was saying So it is not a particularly good introduction to the topic if you have a week history of britian background such as I.It was however very engaging and entertaining and had to be as long as it is As a survey for that long it certainly leaves out a lot It bills itself as a survey of the Isles, but it certainly seemed Ireland, the Welsh and Scotland could have been coveredThis is a secular history but religion is important and covered to some degree but I would have been interested inabout William Wilberforce and the abolition movement as well as Methodism and its roots Recommend for those with a background of history of England Great Britain or who want a broad overview One point he nicely makes is that historians have become so focused and have such narrow fields of study that no one can look at a broad picture It is important to study the trees in the forest, but it is important to study the forest as well While this book can be read in sections of time, the sections overlap and tie into each other Not recommended for a quick read or the faint of heart


  7. says:

    For someone educated at an English school, this book is a useful corrective to the history taught there I left having been taught nothing about the history of the rest of the British Isles not indeed pointed at any areas where I might study further for interest sake He goes into the history of the Isles with a broad brush and the book was and is a pointer to further reading and understanding As someone who is perhaps genuinely British by family background English, Scottish, Welsh with a lit For someone educated at an English school, this book is a useful corrective to the history taught there I left having been taught nothing about the history of the rest of the British Isles not indeed pointed at any areas where I might study further for interest sake He goes into the history of the Isles with a broad brush and the book was and is a pointer to further reading and understanding As someone who is perhaps genuinely British by family background English, Scottish, Welsh with a little Cornish but no Irish that I can trace , I ve always been hacked off at the lazy conflation of English with British and anything that can shift that perception is valuable


  8. says:

    Mr Davies does a delightful job of bringing history to life in his clear, concise writing style and attention to detail Rather than an endless drone of dates and figures, this book is full of rich illustrations, maps, charts, and even music notations which bring his subjects to life He also scatters through vignettes of the regular people caught up in the history he discusses, clearly conveying the certainty that momentous events affected not only kings and princes butpoignantly the p Mr Davies does a delightful job of bringing history to life in his clear, concise writing style and attention to detail Rather than an endless drone of dates and figures, this book is full of rich illustrations, maps, charts, and even music notations which bring his subjects to life He also scatters through vignettes of the regular people caught up in the history he discusses, clearly conveying the certainty that momentous events affected not only kings and princes butpoignantly the people they ruled.I own three of Mr Davies books and plan to own several


  9. says:

    Everything you know about British history is wrong, unless your name is Norman Davies The heck with There will always be an England , according to Davies there never was an England The very idea of England is a whiggish plot And don t even get started on the idea of Britain But you should probably visit Wales if you have the properly reverent attitude.A clearly written and enjoyable one man s view type of history.


  10. says:

    A good informative read, hard to put down I have read Norman Davies before and have found him to be a solid unbiased author A good detailed history is given without trying to patriotically glorify it With a keen interest in history i have learned a lot from this book and would recommend it to anyone willing to learn of the progressive development of all parts of the British Isles and Ireland The History of England by no means overshadows that of Scotland, Ireland and Wales in this book.


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