Jane Austen and Charles Dickens are the quintessential English novelists, and their place among the very greatest authors is beyond dispute.
Yet both also wrote histories of England, Austen as an adolescent satire and Dickens as an entertaining book for children.
This book brings these fascinating pieces of historical writing together, providing two very different perspectives on the history of England. Jane Austen launches into her satirical history with breathtaking speed and a touching informality, wielding her trademark wit to summarise and satirise the career of every monarch from Henry IV to Charles I.
It is also a rarely seen and revealing glimpse of Austen's precocious talent. Dickens's gory and dramatic history is full of villains and heroes.
He sketches the lives of Elizabeth I, James I and Charles I with typically flamboyant twists and turns.
It is a hugely evocative piece, both of the history he conjures up and of the time in which he himself was writing. David Starkey's fascinating introduction explores the merits of each history.
It is the perfect opening to two thoroughly engaging and enthralling histories of England.
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