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Our Tudor history books will tell you everything you need to know about the time of Henry VIII and his six wives.

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Early Modern History Books: C1450 - C1700

Our Tudor history books will tell you everything you need to know about the time of Henry VIII and his six wives.

  • Mapping Shakespeare

    Jeremy Black

    Product Code: MPSH
    Hardback
    Hand-picked favourites
    This visual exploration of the time in which William Shakespeare lived is filled with jaw-dropping facts and observations. It considers what The Bard was like as a man and covers the cultural changes that took place during his lifetime - 1564-1616.

    From the time of the Tudors to Elizabeth I's reign and the first of the Stuart kings, this book reflects the political changes that were reflected in his works and explains how he worked through maps and illustrations to look at how powerful people viewed their positions in the world.

    Author Jeremy Black also explores the locations of Shakespeare's plays and examines the reasons why he chose to set them in these locations.
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  • A Tudor Christmas

    Alison Weir

    Product Code: BRZDL
    Hardback
    Christmas in Tudor times was a period of feasting, revelry and merrymaking `to drive the cold winter away'. A carnival atmosphere presided at court, with a twelve-day-long festival of entertainments, pageants, theatre productions and `disguisings', when even the king and queen dressed up in costume to fool their courtiers. Throughout the festive season, all ranks of subjects were freed for a short time from everyday cares to indulge in eating, drinking, dancing and game-playing. We might assume that our modern Christmas owes much to the Victorians. In fact, as Alison Weir and Siobhan Clarke reveal in this fascinating book, many of our favourite Christmas traditions date back much further. Carol-singing, present-giving, mulled wine and mince pies were all just as popular in Tudor times, and even Father Christmas and roast turkey dinners have their origins in this period. The festival was so beloved by English people that Christmas traditions survived remarkably unchanged in this age of tumultuous religious upheaval. Beautifully illustrated with original line drawings throughout, this enchanting compendium will fascinate anyone with an interest in Tudor life - and anyone who loves Christmas.
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  • Elizabeth I (Penguin Monarchs)

    Helen Castor

    Product Code: BWLDV
    Paperback
    Part of the Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers in a collectible format In the popular imagination, as in her portraits, Elizabeth I is the image of monarchical power. The Virgin Queen ruled over a Golden Age: the Spanish Armada was defeated; English explorers reached the ends of the earth; a new Church of England rose from the ashes of past conflict; the English Renaissance bloomed in the genius of Shakespeare, Spenser and Sidney. But the image is also armour. In this illuminating account of Elizabeth's reign, Helen Castor shows how England's iconic queen was shaped by profound and enduring insecurity-an insecurity which was both a matter of practical political reality and personal psychology. From her precarious upbringing at the whim of a brutal, capricious father and her perilous accession after his death, to the religious division that marred her state and the failure to marry that threatened her line, Elizabeth lived under constant threat. But, facing down her enemies with a compellingly inscrutable public persona, the last and greatest of the Tudor monarchs would become a timeless, fearless queen.
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  • Thomas Cromwell

    Diarmaid MacCulloch

    Product Code: BTGZT
    Paperback
    A SUNDAY TIMES, THE TIMES, DAILY TELEGRAPH, SPECTATOR, FINANCIAL TIMES, GUARDIAN, BBC HISTORY BOOK OF THE YEAR 'This is the biography we have been awaiting for 400 years' Hilary Mantel 'A masterpiece' Dan Jones, Sunday Times Thomas Cromwell is one of the most famous - or notorious - figures in English history. Born in obscurity in Putney, he became a fixer for Cardinal Wolsey in the 1520s. After Wolsey's fall, Henry VIII promoted him to a series of ever greater offices, and by the end of the 1530s he was effectively running the country for the King. That decade was one of the most momentous in English history: it saw a religious break with the Pope, unprecedented use of parliament, the dissolution of all monasteries. Cromwell was central to all this, but establishing his role with precision, at a distance of nearly five centuries and after the destruction of many of his papers at his own fall, has been notoriously difficult. Diarmaid MacCulloch's biography is much the most complete and persuasive life ever written of this elusive figure, a masterclass in historical detective work, making connections not previously seen. It overturns many received interpretations, for example that Cromwell was a cynical, 'secular' politician without deep-felt religious commitment, or that he and Anne Boleyn were allies because of their common religious sympathies - in fact he destroyed her. It introduces the many different personalities of these foundational years, all conscious of the 'terrifyingly unpredictable' Henry VIII. MacCulloch allows readers to feel that they are immersed in all this, that it is going on around them. For a time, the self-made 'ruffian' (as he described himself) - ruthless, adept in the exercise of power, quietly determined in religious revolution - was master of events. MacCulloch's biography for the first time reveals his true place in the making of modern England and Ireland, for good and ill.
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  • Elizabeth's Rival

    Nicola Tallis

    Product Code: BSZEQ
    Paperback
    'Nicola Tallis, one of our great popular historians.' Alison Weir The first biography of Lettice Knollys, one of the most prominent women of the Elizabethan era. Cousin to Elizabeth I - and very likely also Henry VIII's illegitimate granddaughter - Lettice Knollys had a life of dizzying highs and pitiful lows. Darling of the court, entangled in a love triangle with Robert Dudley and Elizabeth I, banished from court, plagued by scandals of affairs and murder, embroiled in treason, Lettice would go on to lose a husband and beloved son to the executioner's axe. Living to the astonishing age of ninety-one, Lettice's tale gives us a remarkable, personal lens on to the grand sweep of the Tudor Age, with those closest to her often at the heart of the events that defined it. In the first ever biography of this extraordinary woman, Nicola Tallis's dramatic narrative takes us through those events, including the religious turmoil, plots and intrigues of Mary, Queen of Scots, attempted coups, and bloody Irish conflicts, among others. Surviving well into the reign of Charles I, Lettice truly was the last of the great Elizabethans.
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  • Civil War

    Peter Ackroyd

    Product Code: ANIFH
    Paperback
    In Civil War, Peter Ackroyd continues his dazzling account of England's history, beginning with the progress south of the Scottish king, James VI, who on the death of Elizabeth I became the first Stuart king of England, and ends with the deposition and flight into exile of his grandson, James II. The Stuart dynasty brought together the two nations of England and Scotland into one realm, albeit a realm still marked by political divisions that echo to this day. More importantly, perhaps, the Stuart era was marked by the cruel depredations of civil war, and the killing of a king. Ackroyd paints a vivid portrait of James I and his heirs. Shrewd and opinionated, the new King was eloquent on matters as diverse as theology, witchcraft and the abuses of tobacco, but his attitude to the English parliament sowed the seeds of the division that would split the country in the reign of his hapless heir, Charles I. Ackroyd offers a brilliant - warts and all - portrayal of Charles's nemesis Oliver Cromwell, Parliament's great military leader and England's only dictator, who began his career as a political liberator but ended it as much of a despot as 'that man of blood', the king he executed. England's turbulent seventeenth century is vividly laid out before us, but so too is the cultural and social life of the period, notable for its extraordinarily rich literature, including Shakespeare's late masterpieces, Jacobean tragedy, the poetry of John Donne and Milton and Thomas Hobbes' great philosophical treatise, Leviathan. Civil War also gives us a very real sense of the lives of ordinary English men and women, lived out against a backdrop of constant disruption and uncertainty.
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  • The Time Traveller's Guide to Elizabethan England

    Ian Mortimer

    Product Code: AGDKL
    Paperback
    The past is a foreign country - this is your guide. We think of Queen Elizabeth I's reign (1558-1603) as a golden age. But what was it actually like to live in Elizabethan England? If you could travel to the past and walk the streets of London in the 1590s, where would you stay? What would you eat? What would you wear? Would you really have a sense of it being a glorious age? And if so, how would that glory sit alongside the vagrants, diseases, violence, sexism and famine of the time? In this book Ian Mortimer reveals a country in which life expectancy is in the early thirties, people still starve to death and Catholics are persecuted for their faith. Yet it produces some of the finest writing in the English language, some of the most magnificent architecture, and sees Elizabeth's subjects settle in America and circumnavigate the globe. Welcome to a country that is, in all its contradictions, the very crucible of the modern world.
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  • The Six Wives of Henry VIII

    Alison Weir

    Product Code: AACVN
    Paperback
    One of the most powerful monarchs in British history, Henry VIII ruled England in unprecedented splendour. In this remarkable composite biography, Alison Weir brings Henry's six wives vividly to life, revealing each as a distinct and compelling personality in her own right. Drawing upon the rich fund of documentary material from the Tudor period, "The Six Wives of Henry VIII" shows us a court where personal needs frequently influenced public events and where a life of gorgeously ritualised pleasure was shot through with ambition, treason and violence.
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  • Mary Queen of Scots

    Alison Weir

    Product Code: ACDUO
    Paperback
    On the night of 10 February 1567, an explosion devastated the Edinburgh residence of Henry Stewart, Lord Darnley, second husband of Mary, Queen of Scots. The noise was heard as far away as Holyrood Palace, where Queen Mary was attending a wedding masque. Those arriving at the scene of devastation found, in the garden, the naked corpses of Darnley and his valet. Neither had died in the explosion, but both bodies bore marks of strangulation.It was clear that they had been murdered and the house destroyed in an attempt to obliterate the evidence. Darnley was not a popular king-consort, but he was regarded by many as having a valid claim to the English throne. For this reason Elizabeth I had opposed his family's longstanding wish to marry him to Mary Stuart, who herself claimed to be the rightful queen of England. Alison Weir's investigation of Darnley's murder is set against one of the most dramatic periods in British history. Her conclusions will shed a brilliant new light on the actions and motives of the conspirators and, in particular, the extent of Mary's own involvement.
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  • The Prince

    Niccolo Machiavelli

    Product Code: BZJBT
    Hardback
    Niccolo Machiavelli provides a remarkably uncompromising picture of the true nature of power, no matter what era or by whom it is exercised. Part of the Macmillan Collector's Library, a series of stunning, clothbound, pocket-sized classics with gold-foiled edges and ribbon markers. These beautiful books make perfect gifts or a treat for any book lover. This edition features an afterword by Oliver Francis. Drawing on examples from the ancient Greeks and Romans and from Machiavelli's contemporaries, The Prince offers - some believed with satirical intent - advice on how a ruler should preserve his power, conduct and warfare, and maintain his reputation. Machiavelli not only influenced many of the great statesmen of his age, but was also one of the founding fathers of modern political thought. The Prince, written in 1513 and published in 1532, is one of the most famous pieces of writing of all time.
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  • Henry VIII and the men who made him

    Tracy Borman

    Product Code: BZHSY
    Paperback
    'An outstanding work of historical artistry, a brilliantly woven and pacy story of the men who surrounded, influenced and sometimes plagued Henry VIII.' Alison Weir Henry VIII is well known for his tumultuous relationships with women, and he is often defined by his many marriages. But what do we see if we take a different look? When we see Henry through the men in his life, a new perspective on this famous king emerges. Henry's relationships with the men who surrounded him reveal much about his beliefs, behaviour and character. They show him to be capable of fierce, but seldom abiding loyalty; of raising men only to destroy them later. He loved to be attended and entertained by boisterous young men who shared his passion for sport, but at other times he was more diverted by men of intellect, culture and wit. Often trusting and easily led by his male attendants and advisers during the early years of his reign, he matured into a profoundly suspicious and paranoid king whose favour could be suddenly withdrawn, as many of his later servants found to their cost. His cruelty and ruthlessness would become ever more apparent as his reign progressed, but the tenderness that he displayed towards those he trusted proves that he was never the one-dimensional monster that he is often portrayed as. In this fascinating and often surprising new biography, Tracy Borman reveals Henry's personality in all its multi-faceted, contradictory glory.
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  • Owen Tudor

    Terry Breverton

    Product Code: BYJNI
    Paperback
    `The Welsh habit of revolt against the English is an old-standing madness ... from the sayings of the prophet Merlin they still hope to recover their land. Hence, they frequently rebel ... but because they do not know the appointed time, they are often deceived and their labour is in vain.' (Vita Edwardi Secundi) The appointed time, it turned out, was 1485. For generations, the ancestors of Welshman Owen Tudor had fought Romans, Irish Picts, Vikings, Saxons, Mercians and Normans. His uncles had been executed in the Glyndwr Welsh War of Independence. Owen fought for Henry V in France and entered the service of Henry's queen, Catherine of Valois. Soon after the king's death he secretly married her, the mother of the eight-month-old Henry VI. Owen and Catherine would have two boys together. Henry VI would go on to ennoble them as Edmund Earl of Richmond, and Jasper Earl of Pembroke, but upon Catherine's death Owen was imprisoned. Escaping twice, Owen was thrown into the beginnings of the Wars of the Roses with his two sons. It would be Edmund's son, Henry Tudor, who would take the English throne as Henry VII. When Jasper led the Lancastrian forces at Mortimer's Cross in 1461, the ageing Owen led a wing of the defeated army, was captured and executed. Without his earlier secret marriage for love, there would have been no Tudor dynasty.
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  • A History of the The Tudors in 100 Objects

    John Matusiak

    Product Code: BXXOW
    Paperback
    This seminal period of British history is a far-off world in which poverty, violence and superstition went hand-in-hand with opulence, religious virtue and a thriving cultural landscape, at once familiar and alien to the modern reader. John Matusiak sets out to shed new light on the lives and times of the Tudors by exploring the objects they left behind. Among them, a silvergilt board badge discarded at Bosworth Field when Henry VII won the English crown; a signet ring that may have belonged to Shakespeare; the infamous Halifax gibbet, on which some 100 people were executed; scientific advancements such as the prosthetic arm and the first flushing toilet; and curiosities including a ladies' sun mask, 'Prince Arthur's hutch' and the Danny jewel, which was believed to be made from the horn of a unicorn. The whole vivid panorama of Tudor life is laid bare in this thought-provoking and frequently myth-shattering narrative, which is firmly founded upon contemporary accounts and the most up-to-date results of modern scholarship.
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  • The Scottish Clearances

    TM Devine

    Product Code: BXKEN
    Paperback
    'A superb book ... Anybody interested in Scottish history needs to read it' Andrew Marr, Sunday Times Eighteenth-century Scotland is famed for generating many of the enlightened ideas which helped to shape the modern world. But there was in the same period another side to the history of the nation. Many of Scotland's people were subjected to coercive and sometimes violent change, as traditional ways of life were overturned by the 'rational' exploitation of land use. The Scottish Clearances is a superb and highly original account of this sometimes terrible process, which changed the Lowland countryside forever, as it also did, more infamously, the old society of the Highlands. Based on a vast array of original sources, this pioneering book is the first to chart this tumultuous saga in one volume, with due attention to evictions and loss of land in both north and south of the Highland line. In the process, old myths are exploded and familiar assumptions undermined. With many fascinating details and the sense of an epic human story, The Scottish Clearances is an evocative memorial to all whose lives were irreparably changed in the interests of economic efficiency. This is a story of forced clearance, of the destruction of entire communities and of large-scale emigration. Some winners were able to adapt and exploit the new opportunities, but there were also others who lost everything. The clearances created the landscape of Scotland today, but it came at a huge price.
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  • Samuel Pepys: The Diaries

    Samuel Pepys

    Product Code: BRZIY
    Hardback
    When Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) began writing in 1660 he was a young clerk living in London, struggling to pay his rent. Over the next nine years as he kept his journal, he rose to be a powerful naval administrator. He became eyewitness to some of the most significant events in seventeenth-century English history, among them, the Restoration of the monarchy in 1660 (he was in the ship that brought back Charles II from exile), the plague that ravaged the capital in 1665, and the Great Fire of 1666, described with poetry and horror. Pepys's diary gives vivid descriptions of spectacular events, but much of the richness of the diary lies in the details it provides about the minor dramas of daily life. While Pepys was keen to hear the King's views, he was also ready to talk with a soldier, a housekeeper, or a child rag-picker. He records with searing frankness his tumultuous personal and professional life: the pleasures and frustrations of his marriage, together with his infidelities, his ambitions, and his power schemes. All of this was set down in shorthand, to protect it from prying eyes. The result is a lively, often astonishing, diary and an unrivalled account of life in seventeenth-century London.
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  • Black Tudors

    Miranda Kaufmann

    Product Code: BQXSW
    Paperback
    Shortlisted for the Wolfson History Prize 2018 A Book of the Year for the Evening Standard and the Observer A black porter publicly whips a white Englishman in the hall of a Gloucestershire manor house. A Moroccan woman is baptised in a London church. Henry VIII dispatches a Mauritanian diver to salvage lost treasures from the Mary Rose. From long-forgotten records emerge the remarkable stories of Africans who lived free in Tudor England... They were present at some of the defining moments of the age. They were christened, married and buried by the Church. They were paid wages like any other Tudors. The untold stories of the Black Tudors, dazzlingly brought to life by Kaufmann, will transform how we see this most intriguing period of history.
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  • William III & Mary II (Penguin Monarchs)

    Jonathan Keates

    Product Code: BPZUN
    Paperback
    The acclaimed Penguin Monarchs series: short, fresh, expert accounts of England's rulers - now in paperback William III (1689-1702) & Mary II (1689-94) (Britain's only ever 'joint monarchs') changed the course of the entire country's history, coming to power through a coup (which involved Mary betraying her own father), reestablishing parliament on a new footing and, through commiting Britain to fighting France, initiating an immensely long period of warfare and colonial expansion. Jonathan Keates' wonderful book makes both monarchs vivid, the cold, shrewd 'Dutch' William and the shortlived Mary, whose life and death inspired Purcell to write some of his greatest music.
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  • Crown of Blood

    Nicola Tallis

    Product Code: BNVJH
    Paperback
    Good people, I am come hither to die, and by a law I am condemned to the same. These were the words uttered by the seventeen-year-old Lady Jane Grey as she stood on the scaffold awaiting death on a cold February morning in 1554. Forced onto the throne by the great power players at court, Queen Jane reigned for just thirteen tumultuous days before being imprisoned in the Tower, condemned for high treason and executed. In this dramatic retelling of an often misread tale, historian and researcher Nicola Tallis explores a range of evidence that has never before been used in a biography to sweep away the many myths and reveal the moving, human story of an extraordinarily intelligent, independent and courageous young woman.
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  • The Gutenberg Revolution

    John Man

    Product Code: BHWPH
    Paperback
    In 1450, all Europe's books were handcopied and amounted to only a few thousand. By 1500 they were printed, and numbered in their millions. The invention of one man - Johann Gutenberg - had caused a revolution. Printing by movable type was a discovery waiting to happen. Born in 1400 in Mainz, Germany, Gutenberg struggled against a background of plague and religious upheaval to bring his remarkable invention to light. His story is full of paradox: his ambition was to reunite all Christendom, but his invention shattered it; he aimed to make a fortune, but was cruelly denied the fruits of his life's work. Yet history remembers him as a visionary; his discovery marks the beginning of the modern world.
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  • Tudor Church Militant

    Diarmaid MacCulloch

    Product Code: BHAAV
    Paperback
    Edward VI died a teenager in 1553, yet his brief reign would shape the future of the nation, unleashing a Protestant revolution that propelled England into the heart of the Reformation. This dramatic account takes a fresh look at one of the most significant and turbulent periods in English history. 'A challenging, elegant and persuasive biography of an unjustly neglected king' Jerry Brotton, author of This Orient Isle'MacCulloch puts the young Edward at the centre of the action ... as this excellent and lively study shows, his ghost continues to haunt the history of Anglicanism' Sunday Times 'This is Reformation history as it should be written, not least because it resembles its subject matter: learned, argumentative, and, even when mistaken, never dull' Eamon Duffy, author of The Stripping of the Altars'One of the best historians writing in English today' Sunday Telegraph
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  • The Lives of Tudor Women

    Elizabeth Norton

    Product Code: AZNEG
    Paperback
    The turbulent Tudor age never fails to capture the imagination. But what was it actually like to be a woman during this period? This was a time when death in infancy or during childbirth was rife; when marriage was usually a legal contract, not a matter for love, and the education of women was minimal at best. Yet the Tudor century was also dominated by powerful and characterful women in a way that no era had been before. Elizabeth Norton explores the seven ages of the Tudor woman, from childhood to old age, through the diverging examples of women such as Elizabeth Tudor, Henry VIII's sister who died in infancy; Cecily Burbage, Elizabeth's wet nurse; Mary Howard, widowed but influential at court; Elizabeth Boleyn, mother of a controversial queen; and Elizabeth Barton, a peasant girl who would be lauded as a prophetess. Their stories are interwoven with studies of topics ranging from Tudor toys to contraception to witchcraft, painting a portrait of the lives of queens and serving maids, nuns and harlots, widows and chaperones.
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  • Henry VIII

    Alison Weir

    Product Code: ABKPL
    Paperback
    This magnificent new book is Alison Weir's greatest achievement: a detailed biography of Henry VIII, set against the cultural, social and political background of his court - the most magnificent court ever seen in England - and the splendour of his many sumptuous palaces. Seen from this new perspective, Henry VIII emerges as a fully-rounded and realistic personality, not the two-dimensional caricature of popular misconception. This book is not just an entertaining narrative packed with colourful description and a wealth of anecdotal evidence, but a comprehensive analytical study of the development of both monarch and court during a crucial period in English history. As well as challenging some recent theories, it offers controversial new conclusions based on contemporary evidence that has until now been overlooked. This is a triumph of historical writing which will appeal equally to the general reader and the serious historian.'A glittering evocation of the Tudor Court, its splendour as well as its vulgarity - a responsive, rounded portrait' - "Daily Telegraph". 'Weir has used colourful, fresh material (much of it from unpublished archives and letters), to recreate early sixteenth-century European life and thought, within which she sets the larger-than-life figure of the king - a compelling, readable account of the life and times of the king who put England firmly on the map of power politics' - Lisa Jardine, "Literary Review".
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  • Leonardo and the Last Supper

    Ross King

    Product Code: AHRLX
    Paperback
    For more than five centuries The Last Supper has been an artistic, religious and cultural icon. The art historian Kenneth Clark called it 'the keystone of European art', and for a century after its creation it was regarded as nothing less than a miraculous image. And yet there is a very human story behind this artistic 'miracle'. Ross King's Leonardo and the Last Supper is both a 'biography' of one of the most famous works of art ever painted and a record of Leonardo da Vinci's last five years in Milan.
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  • Scotland's Empire

    TM Devine

    Product Code: AEQJB
    Paperback
    From T. M. Devine, acclaimed author of "The Scottish Nation" and "To the Ends of the Earth", "Scotland's Empire" tells the compelling story of Scotland's role in forging and expanding the British Empire, from the Americas to Australia, India to the Caribbean. By 1820 Britain controlled a fifth of the world's population, and no people had made a more essential contribution than the Scots - working across the globe as soldiers and merchants, administrators and clerics, doctors and teachers. In this highly acclaimed book, T. M. Devine traces the vital part Scotland played in creating an empire - and the fundamental effect this had in moulding the modern Scottish nation.
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