The English: A Portrait of a People

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Overlook Press, 1998 - History - 308 pages
4 Reviews
Not so long ago, everybody knew who the English were. They were polite, unexcitable, reserved, and had hot-water bottles instead of a sex life. As the dominant culture in a country that dominated an empire that dominated the world, they had little need to examine themselves and ask who they were. But something has happened.

A new self-confidence seems to have taken hold in Wales and Scotland, while others try to forge a new relationship with Europe. The English are being forced to ask what it is that makes them who they are. Is there such a thing as an English race? Witty, surprising, affectionate, and incisive, Jeremy Paxman traces the invention of Englishness to its current crisis and concludes that, for all their characteristic gloom about themselves, the English may have developed a form of nationalism for the twenty-first century.

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Review: The English: A Portrait of a People

User Review  - Goodreads

I found the first chapters rather exciting and challenging. Written over 15 years ago Paxman is surprisingly prescient of the growth of Scottish nationalism and the almost inevitable drift towards ... Read full review

Review: The English: A Portrait of a People

User Review  - Goodreads

Thought-provoking and thoroughly enjoyable. A positive approach to a subject that can produce so many negative responses. Read full review


Funny Foreigners
The English Empire
True Born Englishmen and Other Lies

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About the author (1998)

Jeremy Paxman grew up thinking of himself as English, despite being one quarter Scottish. Currently the anchor of Britain's premier television news program, Newsnight, he has had a long and distinguished career in British television. His books include On Royalty and Empire.

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