The King James Bible has often been called the Book of Books both in itself and in what it stands for. Since its publication in 1611 it has been the best selling book in the world, and many believe, had the greatest impact. The King James Bible has spread the Protestant faith. It has also been the greatest influence on the enrichment of the English language and its literature. It has been the Bible of wars from the British Civil War in the seventeenth century to the American Civil War two centuries later and it has been carried into battle in innumerable conflicts since then. Its influence on social movements - particularly involving women in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries - and politics was profound. It was crucial to the growth of democracy. It was integral to the abolition of slavery and it defined attitudes to modern science, education and sex. As THE ADVENTURE OF ENGLISH explored the history of our language, so THE BOOK OF BOOKS reveals the extraordinary and still-felt impact of a work created 400 years ago.
Melvyn Bragg has written several works of non-fiction as well as his bestselling novels. He was born in 1939 and educated at Wigton's Nelson Thomlinson School and at Oxford where he read history. He is President of the National Campaign for the Arts and Mind, and in 1998 he was made a life peer.