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‘A book worth reading’ Andrew Marr, Sunday Times
The Debatable Land was an independent territory which used to exist between Scotland and England. At the height of its notoriety, it was the bloodiest region in Great Britain, fought over by Henry VIII, Elizabeth I and James V. After the Union of the Crowns, most of its population was slaughtered or deported and it became the last part of the country to be brought under the control of the state. Today, its history has been forgotten or ignored.
When Graham Robb moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, he discovered that the river which almost surrounded his new home had once marked the Debatable Land’s southern boundary. Under the powerful spell of curiosity, Robb began a journey – on foot, by bicycle and into the past – that would uncover lost towns and roads, reveal the truth about this maligned patch of land and result in more than one discovery of major historical significance.
Rich in detail and epic in scope, The Debatable Land takes us from a time when neither England nor Scotland could be imagined to the present day, when contemporary nationalism and political turmoil threaten to unsettle the cross-border community once more. Writing with his customary charm, wit and literary grace, Graham Robb proves the Debatable Land to be a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history.
Includes a 16-page colour plate section.
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'Armed with energy, humour, a poet's eye and a bicycle, he probes the received wisdoms of the past...his book encourages people off the M6 and into the lost interior of the Debatable Land.' (The Times)
Travelogue, history and elucidation, this book is one of timely exploration. Going backwards, it goes forwards and there are many felicities along the way . . . The Debatable Land has excellent illustrations and indices. Elegant and with learning lightly worn, it is, in every respect, an exemplary and topical book, a perfect paradigm of its kind. (Ross Leckie Country Life)
Sorting out the fact from the fiction in this history is one of Robb’s tasks. He tackles some serious misconceptions about the borderland . . . Robb intercuts the past and present, the intimate and the impersonal, to wonderful effect. Few authors write so well about things lost and neglected – or have such sharp ears and eyes for the natural world (Ian Jack Guardian)
Graham Robb is a remarkable writer . . . [his work] displays curiosity, intellectual vitality, wide-ranging sympathies, and a keen eye for unexpected detail. This new book will fascinate everyone with a knowledge of the geography, history, mythology and character of the Anglo-Scottish borderlands . . . No short review can do justice to the intelligence, charm, variety and sheer interest of this book. Read it, and you will be richly entertained and enlightened. (The Scotsman)
A detective outing on native soil. Armed with energy, humour, a poet’s eye and a bicycle – all things his fans will be familiar with – Robb probes the received wisdoms of the past . . . His skill as a writer is to understand, without being fey, the fourth dimension: peeling back the modern landscape to find buried stories (The Times)
Scholarly nonfiction written with novelistic flair . . . The Debatable Land was neither English nor Scottish but a law unto itself, and it became notorious as the centre of reiver violence . . . But Robb, like a conjuror, gradually shows us the Debatable Land as something else . . . his exploration of its history is punctuated by some terrific nature writing (Observer)
It’s a book worth reading . . . it contains several glories, much fine writing and the odd (very odd) wonder. (Andrew Marr Sunday Times)
This is a book written as much on the road as in the library . . . Robb’s book is both a scholarly work of revisionism and an entertaining read . . . One of the pleasures of this book is to watch Robb, like a frontier dodging reiver, slip between past and present, between manuscript and moor, between battlefield site and the 127 bus (Michael Kerr Daily Telegraph)
Diverting asides animate Robb’s revelatory account of this oft-overlooked and understudied part of the United Kingdom . . . The Debatable Land ends with a brace of discoveries. The first is a key to understanding Ptolemy’s second-century map of Britain, hitherto thought inaccurate, which will surely be invaluable to future historians. The second is the earliest account told from a British point of view of a major battle in these islands. This is all fascinating. (Alan Taylor Literary Review)
Graham Robb, apart from being a distinguished historian, biographer and literary critic, is one of our most accomplished travel writers . . . he bicycles with the speed and ferocity of a Scottish reiver through these lost flatlands of history (Hugh Thomson Spectator)
Sunday Times top-ten bestselling author Graham Robb turns his attention on his homeland for the first time in this beautifully written and ground-breaking book.
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Book Description Hardcover. Condition: new. Hardcover. The Debatable Land was an independent territory which used to exist between Scotland and England. It is the oldest detectable territorial division in Great Britain. At the height of its notoriety, it was the bloodiest region in the country, and preoccupied the monarchs and parliaments of England, Scotland, and France. After most of its population was slaughtered or deported, it became the last part of Great Britain to be conquered and brought under the control of a state. Today, it has vanished from the map and no one knows exactly where and what it was. When Graham Robb moved to a lonely house on the very edge of England, he discovered that the river which almost surrounded his new home had once marked the Debatable Land's southern boundary. Under the powerful spell of curiosity, Robb began a journey - on foot, by bicycle and into the past - that would uncover lost towns and roads, shed new light on the Dark Age, reveal the truth about this maligned patch of land, and lead to more than one discovery of major historical significance. For the first time - and with all of his customary charm, wit and literary grace - Graham Robb, prize-winning author of The Discovery of France, has written about his native country. The Debatable Land is an epic and energetic book that takes us from 2016 back to an age when neither England nor Scotland could be imagined to reveal a crucial, missing piece in the puzzle of British history. Sunday Times top-ten bestselling author Graham Robb turns his attention on his homeland for the first time in this beautifully-written and ground-breaking new book. Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. Seller Inventory # 9781509804689
Book Description Hardcover. Condition: New. Book. Seller Inventory # 9781509804689
Book Description Condition: New. Seller Inventory # 29949332-n