The English are now in need of a new sense of home and belonging, and a re-assessment of who they are. This is a history of who they were, with present needs in mind. It begins by considering how the English state created an English nation which from very early days refused to see itself simply as the state's creature. There was more to being English than paying taxes and obeying a king. It considers also how that nation survived shattering revolutions in industry, urban living and global conflict while at the same time retaining a softer, more humane vision of themselves and their land. There was more to living in England than work and wages, there was more to running an empire than expoliting it. From this rich store of history and possibility, the book connects how the meaning of England has changed and changed again in the past, with how it is changing now in the future.
Robert Colls is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Economic and Social History, University of Leicester.
Introduction ; BUILDING THE NATION ; 1. The Law Becomes You ; 2. Uniting the Kingdoms ; 3. Constituting the Modern Nation ; EXTENDING THE STATE ; 4 Modern Gentlemanly Progress ; 5 The Nation over Itself ; 6 Colonials ; 7. Women and Workers ; 8. Loyalties ; POST-IMPERIAL REFORMATION ; 9. Forward March Halted ; 10. Imagined Nation ; 11. Reconstituting the Nation ; Bridgehead ; BUILDING THE HOMELAND ; 12. England as a Garden ; 13. Wasteland ; 14. Island ; 15. Natives ; 16. Journeys ; ABSORBING THE PEOPLE ; 17. Celts ; 18. National Properties ; 19. Common People ; 20. Left-over People ; ENGLAND NOW ; 21. Anarchy in the UK? ; 22. Thinking with England ; Conclusion ; Select Bibliography ; Index