‘1066 and All That’, W.C. Sellar & R.J. Yeatman

It seems befitting to start with a humorous piece after this long silence. Therefore, I bring to your attention the recently-read ‘1066 and All That’, by the writers W.C. Sellar and R.J. Yeatman. Their humour is very much of the education British style that has a very defined base knowledge — and I have to say I lacked in this when I read the book, but even with what I knew it was a very enjoyable read.

The Scots, however, continued to squirl and hoot at the Orange, and a rebellion was raised by the memorable Viscount Slaughterhouse (the Bonnie Dundee) and his Gallivanting Army. Finally Slaughterhouse was defeated at the Pass of Ghilliekrankie and the Scots were all massacred at Glascoe, near Edinburgh (in Scotland, where the Scots were living at that time); after which they were forbidden to curl or hoot or even to wear the Kilt. (This was a Good Thing, as the Kilt was one of the causes of their being so uproarious and Scotch.)

This exemplifies perfectly the type of comedy imbued within this book — sharp and to the point. And people have to know the background. Or, not entirely. In some cases even a lesser grasp on British history can shed light on what the authors were making fun of at that specific moment.

Indeed, I think this book is best because of its light and ridiculous take on history. The tests that are at the end of some sections of ‘memorable History’ are well worth noting for their general skill at taking the mickey out of any ‘normal’ tests we may regularly encounter. (“Which do you consider was the stronger swimmer: (a) The Spanish Armadillo, (b) The Great Seal ?”)

So, here comes the challenge… of reading this book and understanding in depth all of which they refer to herein. It’s a difficult challenge herein, but I am sure it would enhance the pleasure of reading this book — although surely that would be even greater if we had not to add to our present education to read & understand.

Hence the important International Law called the Rule Britannia, technically known as the Freedom of the Seas.

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