Against stupidity the very gods themselves contend in vain. — Friedrich Schiller

Nisbet Self-Help History of Britain

Edited by: J. Ewing
Authors: J. Ewing, M. B. Synge, C. J. B. Gaskoin
Publisher: Nisbet & Co., London
Dates: 1912

This three part series was written by a group of scholars from Oxford University and provides a survey of English history from the time of the Norman conquest to the Victorian era. These books are intended for intermediate students who already have some knowledge of the course of English history and are interested in gaining more depth. It is an excellent transition series for serious students. The political and religious issues of the day are touched upon in only enough detail to give a clear idea of the realities of the situation without getting bogged down in political theories. In addition to covering the most important stories from history, this series introduces the student to social history, that is: the living conditions, customs, education, and beliefs of both the aristocracy and the peasantry.

The first book of the three, Normans and Plantagenets, introduces the reign of William the Conqueror, and touches upon such important subjects as the Magna Carta, the conflict between Henry II and Thomas a Becket, and the foundation of Parliament under Montfort. It also provides background to the Hundred Years War, and the War of the Roses.

The second of the books covers both the Tudor and Stuart reigns, and does a good job of introducing the intermediate student to some of the complexities of the eras, including the Reformation, the English Civil War, and the "Glorious Revolution" during which parliament deposed the Catholic King James II, and placed William III and Mary on the throne, with relatively little bloodshed.

The final book in the series, Hanoverians, covers the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, including the rise of the british empire in America and India, and the Napoleonic War. It also provides an outline of the functions of british government as it existed at the turn of the 20th century, including the roles of the monarchy, parliament, judicial system and municipal governments.

Hanoverians   by C. J. B. Gaskoin   126 credits
This book presents an excellent intermediate history of the rise of the British Empire under the Hanoverian Monarchs, from the first Hanoverian king to the first world war (1714 to 1911). The first five sections of the books give the chronological history under the most important Prime Ministers, including Walpole, the elder Pitt (Chatham), the Younger Pitt, Robert Peel, Gladstone and Disraeli. The later sections provide more detail about such developments as the industrial revolution, the reformed English Government, and the nations included in the British Empire.

Tudors and Stuarts   by M. B. Synge   120 credits
This book presents an excellent intermediate level history of 16th and 17th century England. The Tudor section provides details of how the Reformation came about, including the closing of the monasteries and widespread religious persecutions. The Stuart section explains the rising conflict between parliament and the monarchy, the relationship between religious and political freedom, and the rise of political parties and religious toleration.

Normans and Plantagenets   by J. Ewing   0 credits