A highly articulate, intelligent and entertaining look at the history of England, with a somewhat idiosyncratic approach. Politics, trade, government and culture are Caldecott’s bread and butter here, and his sweep is extremely enjoyable – and stimulating: he ends, for instance, his initial and very brief chapter on prehistory thus: “The particular relevance of Roman Britain to English history lies in the English aristocracy’s adoption of the same Augustan culture during its eighteenth-century hegemony”. Privately published.
Patrick Leigh Fermor held that the glories of Irish literature are simply an escape from the cruel realities of the national table, and that there would have been no Italian Baroque without pasta. No wonder so many English became adventurers, and that as many as possible of the rest headed for the Riviera.
Edited by Robin Ravilious, introduction by John Hatt, photographs by James Ravilious
Eric’s son James spent his working life photographing rural Devon. This is a splendid selection of his superb work, mostly photographed within a ten mile radius of his home. An extraordinary record of a vanished way of life, and demonstrating a rare intimacy with his subjects.
As Edward Thomas put it, “trees and us – imperfect friends, we men/And trees since time began”. A history of English woodland, both natural and literary – snatches of Housman, Kipling, Keats, and a fine piece of arboreal propaganda. Anyone who can come up with “that vandal, Wordsworth” can only be rewarding…