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The History of England - Volume 1 Part 1

David Hume

Book Overview: 

David Hume is one of the great philosophers of the Western intellectual tradition. His philosophical writings earned him lasting fame and renown; his historical writing earned his bread and butter. His "The History of England from the Invasion of Julius Caesar to the Revolution of 1688", published between 1754 and 1764, was immensely popular and Hume wrote that "the copy-money given me by the booksellers much exceeded any thing formerly known in England; I was become not only independent, but opulent." The six volume work has had numerous editions and is still in print today. David Hume and Thomas Babington Macaulay have frequently been compared as the premier English historians but we don't have to choose because Macaulay begins where Hume leaves off.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .ALFRED" src="1_035_alfred_th.jpg" alt="035.jpg Alfred Before the Danish General ">





ALFRED.

This battle of Aston did not terminate the war; another battle was a little after fought at Basing, where the Danes were more successful; and being reënforced by a new army from their own country, they became every day more terrible to the English. Amidst these confusions, Ethered died of a wound which he had received in an action with the Danes; and left the inheritance of his cares and misfortunes, rather than of his grandeur, to his brother Alfred, who was now twenty-two years of age.

This prince gave very early marks of those great virtues and shining talents, by which, during the most difficult times, he saved his country from utter ruin and subversion. Ethelwolf, his father, the year after his return with Alfr. . . Read More

Community Reviews

Clearly, from Hume's perspective the early Anglo-Saxons were barbarians, the Norman kings of England were pure thugs no better than the popular view today of the Mafia, and the church at Rome was the evil empire. Reading Hume is very entertaining as long as you don't expect anything even remotely...more

"Such was the idea which the popes then entertained of the English: and nothing can be a stronger proof of the miserable ignorance in which that people were then plunged, than that a man, who sat on the papal throne, and who subsisted by absurdities and nonsense, should think himself entitled to...more

A little dry but occasionally witty and refreshing. Interesting to see an 18th Century perspective to English history which is this volume seems to be mostly about the power struggle between English Kings and the Roman Catholic church.

One word to desribe it: "incredible." All done without a proper library. Appealed to all for its frankness. No not painting the wart on the King's nose. And why am I the only one to rate this book?

I adored this book. It put English and French history into perspective for me, and the chapters on Thomas of Becket and Henry II completely transformed the way I looked at that period. 1150 to 1250 in England is one of the most important places and times that ever were, and I wonder why. So many...more

Yes! The wonderful thing about reading an old history is that you learn about two periods in one fell swoop: the period described and the period in which it is written. On top of that, I really appreciate Hume's obvious charm and wit and perspective. His treatment of Beckett is interesting and re...more

I finally finished this one. I have been reading this one in the background since the beginning of the year. I decided when I was on the elliptical or the bike to read a book to maximize efficiency in my day vice watching the endless, meaningless commentary of our times...also called the news. En...more

Several years ago, my son-in-law gave me the six-volume history of England by David Hume. I put it on a shelf, admiring how impressive the books looked there. The sheer size of the work was intimidating; starting it seemed like a big commitment. Plus, the fact that it had been written in mid-18th...more

Ok in parts, but who is to say that his version of history is true!?

What can you do once you have completed Gibbon's The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire but still yearn for more? Can any other history survive comparison with its deliberate opinions, its vast scope, its lofty style? Well, it took me twenty years, but I have stumbled upon an answer: you can re...more

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