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The Companion to British History 2nd Edition


The original 1996 edition of this A-Z encyclopedia was an indispensable source of information for students of every imaginable aspect of British history, politics, and culture. This edition brings readers right up to this new century, adding substantially to the earlier one which took over 30 years to compile. Arnold-Baker has written and broadcast widely on law and history and has received the O.B.E. for his work. The breadth of his research and his charmingly idiosyncratic entries make this essential reading for every lover of British history and culture. For example, under "Millennia," we find "the Dome celebrated the new year 2000 with a display of unexampled vulgarity"; under "Wollfington, Peg," an actress "had many lovers, including Garrick, and ended with a quarrel (on stage) with the playwright Mrs. Bellamy, whom she stabbed (off stage)." The text is filled with such delightful minutiae. In addition, the appendixes are extraordinarily informative. The obvious comparison is to the established Oxford Companion to British History (1997), a more comprehensive, scholarly work that still has its quirky charms. A thorough cross-check shows wide differences in coverage. For example, oddly, no mention of Princess Diana appears in the more recent Arnold-Baker book. Indeed, entries for both the Royal Family and the Beatles are very short and dry. True-blue British history buffs will want both books; certainly, the Arnold-Baker tome is a joy to browse through and should be in every library interested in any aspect of British history. A thoroughly delightful compendium; recommended for all libraries.

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Tags: history, British, edition, compile, years, written, Arnold-Baker, broadcast