Finally. I finally did it. I finished my study of England. It took an entire year (mostly because I slacked off), but it’s done. The funny thing is, there are still books I want to read about England; there were just other books I wanted to read more.
This is the final list of England books; it’s quite long:
- Code Name Verity
- Everyone Brave Is Forgiven
- The Last Goodnight
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
- The Battle of Britain: Five Months that Changed History, May – October 1940
- A Christmas Carol (yet to review)
- The Forest
- The Histories of the Kings of Britain
- The Hobbit
- King John
- King Richard II
- King Henry IV, Part 1 & 2
- Newt’s Emerald
- The American Heiress
- Kings of Queens of England
- The English and Their History
- North and South
- Mr. Churchill’s Secretary
- The War That Saved My Life
What England Has Taught Me:
I’m not going to do what I usually do and give a quick history and tell what I learned from each book. Mostly because I’ve already mentally moved on. Sorry England. But I will tell you what this journey has taught me:
- England has one of the longest continuous histories. Maybe ever. It’s people have a distinct identity and pride in their heritage because of this—rightfully so.
- England helped the formation of the democracy that we know and love today. But it’s not the soul creator of such by a long shot.
- England has a very interesting evolution of government and human rights. It wasn’t declared fully-formed from the Boston State House in 1776 like it was in America. It was altered and changed through centuries of history. It was an organic thing.
- Invasion doesn’t have to be a violent thing. England was invaded several times both before and after the Norman Conquest thanks to huge, almost sudden, influxes of immigrants due to a multitude of reasons. These “invasions” built England’s (and Britain’s) unique culture that’s still so diverse.
- England did great and terrible things. Like all countries, it has a dark side. But it’s also often been a banner of freedom.
- England had a long heyday where the British Empire stretched around the world. Despite the colonization of peoples and alteration of native cultures this caused, it served an important purpose.
- The British acted heroically during World War II, but it was inevitable that they would come out the other side forever changed.
- England is suffering a different sort of change right now, a displacement of its race and culture to immigrants from the Middle East. There’s no telling what effect this may have.
I’ve been to England, Ireland, and Northern Ireland, and I’m glad to have gone. Now I want to go again.