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History of Britain

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By: (1608-1674)

History of Britain by John Milton is a comprehensive and informative account of Britain's past. Milton’s writing is engaging and detailed, providing readers with a well-rounded understanding of the country's history from its early origins to more recent events.

The author’s thorough research is evident in the way he presents the key events and figures that have shaped Britain over the centuries. His narrative flows smoothly, making it easy for readers to follow along and grasp the significance of each historical period.

Milton also does a great job of bringing the past to life, painting vivid pictures of the people, places, and events that have shaped Britain’s history. His writing is both scholarly and accessible, making this book suitable for both academics and general readers interested in learning more about Britain’s past.

Overall, History of Britain by John Milton is a must-read for anyone interested in British history. Its detailed and engaging narrative, coupled with the author’s thorough research, make it a valuable resource for understanding the country’s rich and complex history.

Book Description:
A reader of this history, encountering the frequent references to “my author,” meaning the current source, will be reminded of DON QUIXOTE and of THE MORTE D'ARTHUR, for Milton employs a style that might be called dissertational rather than novelistic; he carefully identifies his sources and often quotes from them. However, much of the scholarly documentation has been omitted from the reading—all except footnotes indicating the years—to avoid cumbersome interruptions.

What will be obvious to a listener, though, is that Milton uses earlier chronicles with discretion. He doubts the very existence of Arthur and proposes an ingenious explanation of the origin of his supposed father's name, Uther. When obliged to cite George Buchanan, the world-renowned neo-Latin author and tutor of Mary Queen of Scots, he regularly uses more than a grain of salt, in view of that scholar’s Scottish bias.

And as he carefully weighs the reliability of his sources, so he offers his candid opinion of the wisdom and integrity of historical figures. He sneers at the story of King Canute’s famously commanding the rising tide of waves to retire, but not for the reason one might suppose. Boadicea gets low marks, Alfred high ones—but not without some reservations. And in a long digression comparing the government of Britain, newly freed from Roman domination, to the British republic under Cromwell , his criticism is so frank and savage that the passage had to be suppressed during his lifetime. Such personal opinions are what make this book entertaining and useful for the serious study of the author’s thought and personality.

The endearingly affectionate life of the author, written by his elder nephew, Edward Philips, offers much first-hand information although its facts are not always accurate and its coverage spotty. One learns nothing, for example, about Milton’s visit to the home of Galileo, but Philips's discussion of the role his cousins played in their father’s scholarly pursuits is detailed and affords no basis to the myth that he ever dictated his poetry to his daughters.

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