LAST WOLF: The Hidden Springs of Englishness


LAST WOLF: The Hidden Springs of Englishness

ROBERT WINDER    Book Number: 86326    Product format: Paperback

By the author of 'Bloody Foreigners: The Story of Immigration to Britain', here is a digestible and whimsical history of Britain, and an engaging ramble through the wool towns and open ranges of medieval England. What big teeth you have! Winder's hugely entertaining history begins with the eradication of the wolf, which allowed England to become something unique - a giant sheep estate. The nation stood on the brink of a tremendous agricultural revolution. Englishness is a mongrel, a hybrid product of many identities in its language and values. England's weather, England's food and all other textures that grow out of its unique geographical place in the world shaped everything. Of the 180 'Tenants-in-Chief' installed after the Norman Conquest, only half a dozen were English. The rest were French. A few generations later, they had all gone native. We are a land of sheep, wheat and apples, not goats, rice and vines. Oak and beech, not palm and olive. We had little choice in the matter - it was in our nature. We only have to think of our grand heritage being spun from wool - the defining swathe of cathedrals, churches, guild halls, villages, fields, markets, mills and manor houses that remain the poster children of British tourism to this day. It did not seem odd that the English reigned supreme. We had the best rain and therefore the best grass in Europe. We were a natural wool farm. Perhaps we have always been a two-tone people: half eccentric, half pedestrian. There is a materialistic streak, and a famous suspicion of ideas. But England has also produced lofty theorists such as Newton, Locke, Paine and Darwin and has long been celebrated as the home of fair play and tolerance with cricket as our symbolic game. Today what sort of place is England and who are the English? As we turn away from our European neighbours, it is becoming necessary to ask what England has that is singular and its own? Winder spins an English tale travelling the country, looking for its hidden springs not in royal pageantry or politics, but in landscape and history. His excellent description of the rise of Lancashire's enormous cotton industry triggers a discussion of the slave trade and English morality in a fabulous tale of water and coal, rain and agriculture, industry and architecture. 470pp in illustrated paperback.
Published price: £9.99
Bibliophile price: £3.50


Additional product information

ISBN 9780349141862
Browse these categories as well: Lucky Dip Clearance, Modern History/Current Affairs, Best Of British, Great Britain, Maps & the Environment

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