At the end of the English Civil War Sir Thomas Fairfax, leader of the victorious New Model Army, entered the Tower of London and asked to be shown the 400-year-old manuscript Magna Carta. ‘This is that,’ he declared, ‘which we have fought for, and by God’s help we must maintain’.
In this book, the historian Graham Stewart examines the history of Britain as presented through 100 seminal documents, from the 8th-century Lindisfarne Gospels to the new British Citizenship test. These are the documents which defined their own eras, and which continue to resonate today: The 1707 Act of Union with Scotland, the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, the 1938 Munich Agreement and the Accession Treaty to the European Union. Not only political, but also cultural, Stewart has included Samuel Johnson’s Dictionary, Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations, and the cover of the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album by the Beatles. With dozens of illustrations, this is a fascinating means to explore a nation’s development.