History fans will be quite familiar with Peter Ackroyd and his easy-to-read style of writing. His books aren’t for academics – they are for us, the everyday reader.
The History of England: Foundation takes us from the pre-history of England through to Henry VII and, in between the history of kings and battles, and religion and the development of the legal system, he tells us of the ordinary people and how and where they lived, ate and died.
There is a chapter on the games people played and the jokes they told, and another on how the seasons ruled the way people lived and worked. He also tells of the development of some of the better known legends, such as Robin Hood and who he may or may not have been.
So, even if you are familiar with the early history of England, Ackroyd expands on that in a way that perhaps makes it feel a bit more “real”.
Tom Keneally Centre volunteer