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Enduring England

Academics have dismissed the field of national histories as parochial. But, argues Dominic Sandbrook, three new accounts of England show that myths of national identity remain strong

1066 and all that: in his new book Simon Jenkins contrasts “Anglo-Saxon” localism with “Norman” love of big government

A Short History of England by Simon Jenkins (Profile, £25)

Foundation: A History of England Volume 1 by Peter Ackroyd (Macmillan, £25)

Visions of England by Roy Strong (Bodley Head, £17.99)

Is there such a thing as an enduring national character? Most academic historians would probably scoff at the idea of a nation having a distinct personality, surviving down the centuries beneath the changing tides of fashion and technology. Many academics now frown upon national histories, preferring to talk of…

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