This massive 1,000+ page guide to all things British is a solemn, sometimes irreverent dissection of the United Kingdom. More than just a reference work describing the doings of politicians and generals. This companion carefully moves into areas not normally covered by such works. There are entries that discuss various major industries - shipbuilding, mining, gas and cotton - and on aspects of private and domestic life, like childbirth, housing, health and food. While the growth, meaning and importance of sports is discussed, only two athletes rate their own entries (the soccer star Stanley Matthews, knighted for his accomplishments on the field, and cricketer W.G. Grace, the Victorian star who continued playing first-rate cricket until he was 60). The only flaw in the entire book is a production problem that caused the deletion of pages 949 through 980, or between James Ussher and William Whewell. Not a noticeable problem, unless you're looking up information about Queen Victoria.
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Bill Peschel (Bill_Peschel)
Bill Peschel was born in 1960 in Ohio, and grew up there and in North Carolina. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a B.A. in journalism. At The Avalon Hill Game Company … more
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From "Abbeys," monastic organizations that were important in local-level medieval government, to "Zutphen, Battle of," where the great poet Sir Philip Sidney lost his life in 1586, this 1,000-plus-page tome offers an erudite register of all things British. Editor John Cannon's emphases are sometimes idiosyncratic--the entry for the Beatles, inarguably influential in British and world history, is as short as that for "beagling," a particular kind of rabbit hunting.The Oxford Companion to British Historyis an invaluable and well-written resource for Anglophiles nonetheless.