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The Celts: A Sceptical History Hardcover – 30 Jun. 2022
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'Simon Jenkins, as ever, writes with clarity and insight' The Times
'Jenkins has a journalist's ear for the outrageous' Sunday Times
'There's much here to interest and stimulate' Literary Review
The history of the Celts is the history of a misnomer.
There has never been a distinct people, race or tribe claiming the name of Celtic, though remnants of different languages and cultures remain throughout Wales, Ireland, Scotland and Cornwall. The word keltoi first appears in Greek as applied generally to aliens or 'barbarians' - and theories of Celticism continue to fuel many of the prejudices and misconceptions that divide the peoples of the British Isles to this day.
Often seen as unimportant or irrelevant adjuncts to English history, in The Celts Simon Jenkins offers a compelling counterargument. This is a fascinating and timely debate on who the Celts really were - or weren't - and what their legacy should be in an increasingly dis-United Kingdom.
Jenkins has a journalist's ear for the outrageous -- John Carey ― Sunday Times
There's much here to interest and stimulate -- Ewen A Cameron ― Literary Review
Beautifully written with a firm hand on his facts ... startlingly good -- Sandra Callard ― On Magazine
An intelligent and provocative polemic -- Andrew Lynch ― Business Post
A compelling, often unsettling argument ... smiting at the roots of cherished myths and subverting notions of patriotic identity. Jenkins gives his version of the past 1,500 years or so with clarity and erudition -- Simon Griffith ― Mail on Sunday
Praise for A Short History of England:
'A lucid and handsomely illustrated narrative
Jenkins is one of the liveliest commentators at work in Britain, always worth reading and pleasingly contrarian -- Jeremy Paxman ― Guardian
This is traditional, kings-and-things, great-men history with all its dates and famous quotations in place ... Jenkins has a newspaper columnist's aphoristic verve ― Spectator
A characteristically bold, wry, fluent, combative gallop through English history -- Max Hastings
Full of good writing and lively anecdotes ... Food for thought ― New Statesman
Immediately accessible ― Prospect
Where Jenkins excels is in his very journalistic approach ... The historical events are joined up, and work as narrative ― Time Out
- Publisher : Profile Books; Main edition (30 Jun. 2022)
- Language : English
- Hardcover : 304 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1788168801
- ISBN-13 : 978-1788168809
- Dimensions : 14.4 x 3.4 x 21.8 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 21,380 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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To quote Simon Rodway's review as an example, "This is not just a bad book, it’s a nasty one." and "Overall, this is like reading an essay by a clever, ambitious but lazy and contrarian undergraduate, with far too high a regard for his own cleverness."
"As it shows evidence of independent reading, and a reasonable grasp of the outline of parts of the argument, I’d be prepared, despite its manifest failings, to give it a mark in the 40s. It should certainly never have been published."
Do not waste your money just to become less informed for the sake of this man's own political agenda, personal biases, manipulations, and bigotry. He can't even be bothered to spell words correctly in languages he then goes on to disparage as impenetrable, like some English imperialist from the 1800s.
Whether you agree or disagree with Mr. Jenkins argument, i recommend you give it a try. Great fun.
The same argument, that the celts are are 16c invention was made in more detail, but less wit, in John Collis’ excellent book in 2003