A Short History of England – Gilbert Keith Chesterton
Chesterton, in his unimitable way, remarks that “the only way to write a popular history is to write it backwards.” This is somewhat the method he employs in his book, “A Short History of England,“ in which he aims to show the importance of the populace in history, an importance that is wholly neglected by historians. England, he asserts, was created, not so much by the death of the ancient Roman civilization, as “by its escape from death, or by its refusal to die.“ For four hundred years Britain was wholly Roman in its civilization. Medizeval civilization arose out of the “resistance to the naked barbarians from the North, and the more subtle barbarians from the East.“ The crisis in English history, he argues, was not the period of the Stuarts, but the fall of Richard II. following “his failure to use medimval despotism in the interests of medieval democracy.“ Mr. Chesterton portrays the democracy of the Middle Ages, this civilization being the creation, really, of the people through their guilds and through monasticism which was a democratic institution which the Reformation destroyed.
A Short History of England.
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Biography of Gilbert Keith Chesterton (from Wikipedia):
Gilbert Keith Chesterton, KC*SG (29 May 1874 – 14 June 1936), better known as G. K. Chesterton, was an English writer, poet, philosopher, dramatist, journalist, orator, lay theologian, biographer, and literary and art critic. Chesterton is often referred to as the „prince of paradox“. Time magazine has observed of his writing style: „Whenever possible Chesterton made his points with popular sayings, proverbs, allegories—first carefully turning them inside out.“
Chesterton is well known for his fictional priest-detective Father Brown, and for his reasoned apologetics. Even some of those who disagree with him have recognised the wide appeal of such works as Orthodoxy and The Everlasting Man. Chesterton routinely referred to himself as an „orthodox“ Christian, and came to identify this position more and more with Catholicism, eventually converting to Catholicism from High Church Anglicanism. George Bernard Shaw, his „friendly enemy“, said of him, „He was a man of colossal genius.“ Biographers have identified him as a successor to such Victorian authors as Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, Cardinal John Henry Newman, and John Ruskin.
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