Short History of the English People. Green.

By John Richard Green

Printed: 1907

Publisher: Macmillan & Co. London

Dimensions 13 × 19 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 13 x 19 x 4


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Item information


Red full calf binding. Gilt All Saints School emblem on the front board. Gilt title on the spine with raised banding.

All edges gilt. Binding by Wickers & Sons, Leicester.

A very nice readable edition

It is the intent of F.B.A. to provide an in-depth photographic presentation of this book offered so to almost stimulate your feel and touch on the book. If requested, more traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

 “Short History of the English People, a book that was extremely influential in the United States as well as throughout the British empire. Green’s vivid story telling powers, as well as his facility in evoking places and characters, made his radical methodology and views palatable to his readers. Informed by a disdain for traditional political and military narratives and a reverence for the common people, the Short History was an important milestone in the development of social and cultural history”

 A Short History of the English People is a book written by English historian John Richard Green. Published in 1874, “it is a history, not of English Kings or English Conquests, but of the English People.”  Green began work on the book in 1869, having been given only six months to live after being hit hard by disease that had plagued him throughout his life. Only having around 800 pages to write on, he had to leave out much of what he wanted to include. Green intentionally left out the battles of England feeling they did not play a big role in the formation of the nation, saying that historians “too often turned history into a mere record of the butchery of men by their fellow men.” His new ideas, and omission of information that others felt important, meant Green was criticized by other historians as well as the people close to him. Others thought highly of the book, including Francis Adams, who used quotations from the book in his poem The Peasants’ Revolt.

  John Richard Green (12 December 1837 – 7 March 1883) was an English historian. Green was born on 12 December 1837, the son of a tradesman in Oxford, where he was educated, first at Magdalen College School, and then at Jesus College, Oxford, where he is commemorated by the J. R. Green Society, which meets several times a term and is run by students from the undergraduate body.  He grew up in a high-church Tory family from which he rebelled as early as 1850, being “temporarily banished from his uncle’s house for ridiculing the uproar over ‘Papal Aggression.'”

In 1869 he finally gave up his work as a clergyman, and was appointed librarian at Lambeth. He had been laying plans for various historical works, including a History of the English Church as exhibited in a series of Lives of the Archbishops of Canterbury, and, what he proposed as his magnum opus, a history of England under the Angevin kings. After suffering from failing health he abandoned these projects and instead concentrated his energies on the preparation of his A Short History of the English People, which appeared in 1874, and at once gave him an assured place in the first rank of historical writers.

Abandoning his proposed history of the Angevins, he confined himself to expanding his Short History into A History of the English People in four volumes (1878–1880) and writing The Making of England, of which one volume only, coming down to 828, had appeared when he died at Mentone in March 1883. After his death appeared The Conquest of England. The Short History, which in 1915 was republished as part of the Everyman Library, may be said to have begun a new epoch in the writing of history, making the social, industrial, and moral progress of the people its main theme. It sold 235,000 copies in England alone.

More recently J. W. Burrow proposed that Green, like William Stubbs and Edward Augustus Freeman, was a historical scholar with little or no experience of public affairs, with views of the present that were Romantically historicised, and who was drawn to history by what was in a broad sense an antiquarian passion for the past, as well as a patriotic and populist impulse to identify the nation and its institutions as the collective subject of English history, making

… the new historiography of early medieval times an extension, filling out and democratising, of older Whig notions of continuity. It was Stubbs who presented this most substantially; Green who made it popular and dramatic … It is in Freeman … of the three the most purely a narrative historian, that the strains are most apparent.

 In 1877 he married Alice Stopford.

During the 1870s Green suffered from lung problems His wife assisted him in carrying out and completing his work as his broken health took its toll during his few remaining years. He died on 7 March 1883.

Sir Leslie Stephen edited a volume of Green’s correspondence, which was published in 1901

  • (1874) A Short History of the English People
  • (1879) English Literature(Editor)
  • (1879) Readings From English History(Editor)
  • (1880) A History of the English People
  • (1881) The Making of England
  • (1883) The Conquest of England


Condition notes

Slight crack on the hinge

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