By Beram Saklatvala
Barnes & Noble Books, 192 pp, 1969
I came across this little gem while
browsing through the non-fiction stacks of the local library. I know, I
know, who browses in non-fiction? I do, and usually find something
Like this book.
If you are of English background, and
even if you aren't, you will enjoy this book. The author traces the
Angles and Saxons from their origins in continental Europe, how they
arrived on the English island and slowly merged to become
He also discusses the importance of
the Roman occupation. Roman soldiers and settlers came to England, and
many stayed. These Romans came from all over the known world, including
Syria and Egypt. So, even if you have a pure English background, you may
still have a distant Egyptian or Syrian ancestor. I think that's cool.
He discusses the impact of the Viking
invasions, how Wessex and her kings, including my hero Alfred the Great,
held off the Norse armies, and finally the arrival of the Normans.
During this time of invasion and occupation by foreign-speaking people,
the Anglo-Saxons endured, absorbing traits, customs, words, and
traditions of the foreign people, giving these hardy people the strength
and flexibility to continue as a distinct culture, with a language that
eventually spread all across the world.
The author traces the ancient roots of
our own form of government, such as the rule of law, government by
consent, and the growth of a body of advisers to the king, what we would
now call a Cabinet.
If you want to understand your own
background, or why the British and to a lesser extent American
governments do what they do, read this book.