[Review] The Story of England by Michael Wood


Title: The Story of England
Author: Michael Wood
Publisher: Penguin, reprint edition May 29, 2012
Genre: Non-fiction, history of England.
Theme: English History
Format: Paperback
Age: Adult
Pages: 464
Rating: 5 Stars
Source: Self-purchase

Michael Wood's book The Story of England was a documentary on PBS in the summer of 2012.

Michael Wood's site: http://michaelwood.moonfruit.com/

Wood's current project on King Alfred: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03816y5
Michael Wood has written an enticing story of English history with the focus on the town of Kibworth. History for Kibworth, England began: "in the Middle Bronze Age, roughly between 1500 and 1000 BC, a time which saw the beginnings of organized societies in Britain, and with them for the first time long-distance trade." He traces Kibworth's known origins from the Bronze Age, to the Roman, Celt, Anglo-Saxon, Viking and Norman invaders. Each of their influences to society and culture is reflected on. A comprehensive study of the Black Death, famines, wars, Magna Carta, religion, intermarriage with the invading peoples, education, superstition, agriculture, science, and royal families are taught.

My Thoughts:
The majority of history is from Kibworth's known beginning in first century AD to the Protestant Reformation, minimal history on the last 300 years. I am a fan of Medieval history and this book made an impression on me. When I first began reading British history I was interested in the Victorian period. Over the past few months I've began reading books on Medieval period or the Middle Ages, 5th through 15th centuries. I guess I'm working my way back, next it will be Prehistoric Britain, Bronze Age and or Late Antiquity.

Points of interest:
  • Invader groups and how they changed society and culture; this included intermarriage, and how people groups adapted to "them".
  • Christianity's influence in England.
  • King Ethelred, King Harold, the last of the Anglo-Saxon kings. 
  • The Black Death.
  • The Reformation and its influence in England, including the years that it was considered heresy.
The book is thorough in its research; interesting in its teaching.
I would love to be able to watch this television program, but it's not available in America.

Link @ Amazon:
Paperback $6.80
Kindle $11.06