Author(s): Lawrence James
Modern Britain is a nation shaped, both geographically and culturally, by wars. The essence of its identity is the warrior heroes, both real and fictitious, who still capture the national imagination: from Boadicea to King Arthur, Rob Roy to Henry V, the Duke of Wellington to Winston Churchill. In Warrior Race, Lawrence James draws on the latest historical and archaeological research, as well as numerous previously untapped resources, to chart the full reach of British military history. He explores the physical and psychological impact of Roman military occupation, the monarchy's struggle for mastery of the British Isles, the civil wars of the seventeenth century, and the "total war" experience of twentieth-century conflict. But Warrior Race is more than just a compelling historical narrative. James skillfully weaves together the many themes of his subject, discussing the rise, survival, and reinvention of chivalry; the literary quest for a British epic; the concept of birth and breeding as qualifications for command in war; and the issues of patriotism and Britain's antiwar tradition. This is popular history at its very best: incisive, informative, and accessible; immaculately researched and hugely readable. Balancing the broad sweep of history with an acute attention to detail, Lawrence James never loses sight of this most fascinating and enduring of subjects: the question of British national identity and character.